First Steps Taken Toward Establishing Turkish Chair at Berkeley

WESTWOOD–Negotiations between the Republic of Turkey and the University of California at Berkeley are underway to establish a "Turkish Studies" program at the nationally renowned university–reported the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.. If such a program is implemented–Berkeley will join more than a dozen other American universities in establishing Turkish studies programs funded–in whole or in part–by the Government of Turkey.

In addition to targeting academia–over the past decade– the Turkish Government has extensively utilized professional lobbyists and public relations firms to expand its far reaching and well financed campaign to distort and refute the Armenian Genocide.

"As anticipated–UCLA’s rejection of the proposal to establish a Turkish Chair has not deterred the Turkish Government from attempting to attract other academic institutions with substantial endowmen’s." Stated Vicken Sonentz-Papazian–Executive Director of the ANCA-WR

"After consulting with the San Francisco Bay Area ANC–the Armenian Genocide Resource Center–the ANC of Oregon as well as a number of other concerned Armenian American organizations–individuals and Berkeley alumni–a campaign to collectively educate the decision makers and educators at Berkeley is underway. Hopefully–with a better understanding of the many drawbacks and risks inherent in establishing a partnership with a Turkish Government that has a well documented history of human rights abuses and academic manipulation–Berkeley will reassess the offer," he added.

Hilmar Kaiser–researcher at the European University Institute in Florence–Italy and affiliated with the Ruhr-University in Bochum–Germany–who–along with Ara Sarafian of Michigan University and Co-Director of Gomidas Institute is in the United States lecturing on the issue of academic integrity in historical research–noted "It is absurd that the Turkish government that bans American academic publications when they fail to conform to its political objectives–claims to promote and advance research and academic debate in the United States."

Sarafian added–"It is outrageous that American taxpayer money and charitable foundation gran’s are being channeled to promote the agenda of a foreign government such as Turkey which has openly declared its absolute intention to silence any and all true discussion of the Armenian Genocide in academia"

ANC-Portland Representative–Serop Nenejian–active in opposing a similar initiative at Portland State University–remarked–"It should be obvious to everyone by now that the Turkish Government’s motivation in establishing a Ottoman Turkish Studies Program at Berkeley–Portland State University–or any university for that matter–has nothing to do with furthering academic understanding and everything to do with covering up the crime of Genocide and similar misdeeds. Considering the fact the targets of these deceitful endeavors are America’s institutions of higher learning–it is only fair that the American public know all the relevant facts before permitting the Turkish Government to influence the education of our youth."

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