Azeri and Turkish-American Groups Denigrate US-Armenian Executive

Harut Sassounian

BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN

Four Azeri and Turkish-American organizations launched a coordinated anti-Armenian campaign last week, attacking the integrity of Mark Hoplamazian, Chief Executive Officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, in order to intimidate him and other Armenian-American executives.

In a letter to Thomas Pritzker, Executive Chairman of Hyatt Board of Directors, leaders of the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA), Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC), Federation of Turkish-American Associations (FTAA), and Azerbaijan Society of America (ASA) accused Hoplamazian of involvement in “ethnic propaganda campaigns.”

The Azeri and Turkish groups attacked Hoplamazian for speaking at the Sept. 22 banquet of “the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), an Armenian-American lobbying group, as a Hyatt executive.” They also expressed their unhappiness that he “serves on the Advisory Board of ‘Facing History and Ourselves,’ a non-profit group that ‘teaches about the Armenian genocide.’”

The four Turkic organizations claimed that “Mr. Hoplamazian’s engagement with ethnic special interest groups that spread antagonisms against Turkey and Azerbaijan may be in violation of the Conflicts of Interest clause of Hyatt’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.” However, a review of the hotel chain’s Code, posted on its website, does not provide the slightest hint that the Hyatt executive violated any of its provisions.
In their letter, the Azeri and Turkish groups made a series of malicious statements by referring to the Armenian Genocide as an “allegation” and “World War I-era inter-communal atrocities.” They falsely alleged that these “atrocities” were “never tried in any tribunal and no intent to exterminate Armenians was ever established. No sentences or court verdicts were issued in terms of the 1948 United Nations Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.”

By making such ridiculous claims, the leaders of these Turkic organizations simply exposed their ignorance of the basic facts of the Armenian Genocide. They conveniently forgot about the Turkish Military Tribunals of 1919 that sentenced the Turkish ringleaders of the Armenian Genocide to death. US, Swiss, and Argentinean Federal Courts have also reaffirmed the veracity of the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities adopted in 1985 a report classifying the Armenian Genocide as an example of genocide.
The Azeri and Turkish groups also claimed that they represent “over half million Americans of Turkic descent.” This cannot be true simply because there aren’t that many Turkic people living in the United States, according to the latest US census. Even if there were half a million Turkic Americans, it is highly doubtful if all of them would have given their consent to be represented by these organizations for such absurd misadventures. Most probably, these four groups altogether have a tiny fraction of the constituencies they claim!

Clearly, the faulty statements and silly accusations of these Turkic groups are intended to intimidate Hoplamazian and force him to disengage from any involvement in Armenian or genocide-related issues. More ominously, by targeting and making an example of the Hyatt CEO, Azeri and Turkish groups hope to discourage other Armenian-American executives from pursuing similar activities.

In their joint letter, the Azeri and Turkish groups have indirectly threatened Hyatt’s corporate interests by indicating that the company “currently runs a total of four successful hotels in Istanbul, Turkey, and Baku, Azerbaijan.” One wonders if the governments of Azerbaijan and Turkey have authorized these two-bit groups to speak on their behalf. Moreover, do these organizations realize that they are undermining the business interests of their native countries by foolishly threatening a global corporation like Hyatt?

It would be highly regrettable if the unwise Azeri and Turkish campaign against prominent Armenian-American executives would start an undesirable chain of events that could lead the Armenian community to take counter-actions against successful Turkish-American businessmen, such as Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of Coca Cola Company.

The Azeri-Turkish letter is highly unlikely to bring any tangible benefits to these groups, as Hyatt’s Board of Directors would most probably dismiss their baseless allegations. More importantly, such a racist assault on the integrity of an exemplary Armenian-American executive would energize Armenians on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Genocide to pursue more vigorously their just demands from both Turkey and Azerbaijan!

Lastly, it is outrageous that these Azeri and Turkish groupings kept totally silent when an Azeri officer axed to death a sleeping Armenian in Budapest, but are now alarmed when an Armenian-American CEO exercises his right to free speech in Beverly Hills!

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9 Comments

  1. Alex said:

    What a not surprise, that envy of Turks towards Armenian is getting more and more alive. What else do we expect from a civilization that is parasite that thinks it’s civil.

  2. hrair said:

    I would like to thank Mr. Sassounian for highlighting and bringing this sort of Turkish provocations and harassment against anyone or anything Armenian without any hesitation and limits.
    Turks killed our people physically, occupied our lands, forced us in to exile and now are harassing each and every one of us all around the world in order to silence and kill us in spirit.
    Yes, what they are doing is insane and wrong, but the fact is that they are doing it with relentless zeal and with consistency. Their tactics, choice of words and allegations do not discriminate. They attack left and right, mixing falsehoods with more ridiculous falsehoods. This strategy and conduct is clearly not an accident and is deliberate. Their strategy is clearly to confuse and misguide the world community and to create negative opinion on all things Armenian. For the most part, lies are free, convenient and after all they get away with this sort of criminal behavior. We got to admit their tactic to fish in murky waters works. They are energized by the Baku petro dollars, their inert nature and complacency of some in the international arena. Latest indifference and half measures in condemning the criminal Safarov’s release and subsequent glorification is a prime example of this reality.
    An then, we look at the responses of official Yerevan, the foreign minister and his office, the response of the Armenian diaspora and its representatives and community leaders. The situation is not promising at all. At best I think the Armenian side is showing signs of fatigue and is outdated in its response tone, method and substance. It is frustrating to see how the methods used by the Armenian side to protect and enhance the just cause and rights of the Armenian nation are timid and “tiered”. They are always “wise” “diplomatic” “civilized” big statements about international community, its high human ideals, and rights and so called democratic norms, which is often talked about but seldom seen or felt.
    Losers talk and act like this. It is time we learn from Turks and Azeris to talk and respond to them in their own “language” the same way the Karabakh war was won when Armenian army talked to them in their own “language”. Enough of this “civilized” BS…No one is buying it, no one really cares that we are the victims of a genocide and have a just cause… And they all are ready to sell themselves and their honor or what’s left of it like the Hungarian government.
    Armenians should adopt the language, tone and tactics of the Turks in order to be effective and be relevant. No one cares to limit their appetite of Baku Petro dollars, Turkish business potentials for the rights of Armenians.

  3. hagop hagopian said:

    Your statement ” Armenians on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Genocide to pursue more vigorously their just demands from both Turkey and Azerbaijan”
    What are you on?? Are you for real harut, To trivialize the Armenian community or any Armenian whose grandparents either survived or perished, who seek justice would take a silly, or an irrelevant issue in order to mobilize vigorously to demand justice for the Armenian Genocide. What’s the matter with you harif?
    I think all the attention this community has given you has gone to your head, because, that’s one of the most irresponsible comment I have read coming from you.

    • Dino said:

      It may well be that his statement is not on target but to call him a “harif”? That’s a low blow to an Armenian Intellectual who has served his community well. Armenians just love to cannibalize their own at the drop of a hat. Turkish entities have for some time done dirty deeds on social media and blogs and have sown discontent and poison the well of Armenian discussions pretending to be Armenians. It’s a turkish character trait to fly false flag operations against all of their enemies. It amazes me when Armenians have only a 1% opinion differential and they demonize the other whole hog. Civility and kind argumentation will lead to better results. The tact we should take with this bullying by the turks is that the turks are enemies of western civilization in thought and in deeds. They are no different in thinking from al qaida and the taliban. They are anti western with a smiling face until opportunity strikes then they show their rabid teeth and strike against our western values in a tangible way.

      • Avery said:

        Dino:

        don’t be so sure ‘hagop hagopian’ is Armenian.
        despite the name and supposed concern about AG, the apparent knowledge of Armenian words, the post has the telltale signs of having been written by a Turkish agent provocateur – to sow discord amongst us: it’s the oldest trick in the book.

        Lots of Turkish agents read, write and speak Armenian fluently.

  4. h. said:

    Where it is needed Turks show money, from hiring sophisticated lobby firm to making huge donations to different political parties and politicians who we all know are too eager to sale themselves and their conscience to the highest bitter without any hesitation. Turks even came very close in buying the loyalty of entire American Indian tribes, pushing made up fairy tale like stories attesting that this American Indians were descendants of Turks. We might forget, but Turks do not.
    Where money alone cannot do the job they resort to aggressive behavior, bulling, threatening and intimidating by the treat of different lawsuits. They don’t worry about the justness and possible results of the lawsuits, as long as they create concern and disturbance. After all many do get intimidated and retreat in order to avoid expansive litigations and headaches. Remember how the National Southern ( I believe African American ) organization retracted their major statement on the Armenian genocide in order to avoid lawsuit? We might not, but Turks due.
    Turks resort to deception, unlike Armenians they play with closed hands in order to get what they want, point in affect the new memorial built for fallen Turkish diplomat in Canada. But, no Armenians have to announce and brag on initiatives and ideas they might have before they have actually lifted a finger.
    In short I think we need a reality check, need to change tactics, methods and adapt to the “new reality on the street”. World has changed around us, yet we still talk about high ideals, Humanity, justice, fairness, democracy. We continue to behave like refugees, second class citizens, criticize each other and compete as to how polite we all are, how civilized we are. Than we hold demonstrations and demonstrate as if anyone cares. It’s time to change and adapt to the new rules in the old game.

  5. artashes said:

    I do not give a damn about Turks anymore. I have studied Kurdish struggle in Turkey. There will be Kurdistan with probability of 100% in 20-30 years, if not earlier. After that Turkey is to disintegrate further – diplomats say.
    We have to help Armenia as we can, and after the creation of Kurdistan Armenia will not be blocked.

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