ANCA Warns of Direct Turkish Government Attempt to Manipulate Armenian American Community

TURKISH GOVERNMENT SEEKING AGAIN TO USE ILLUSION OF "DIRECT DIALOGUE" TO BLOCK PROGRESS OF CONGRESSIONAL GENOCIDE RESOLUTION

WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today called on the major Armenian American organizations to resist renewed efforts by the Turkish Government to manipulate the Armenian American community and undermine recent progress toward US recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

In a June 6th letter to community leaders–ANCA Chairman Kenneth V. Hachikian–reported that–"the Turkish Embassy and Turkish Consulates in the United States are seeking to arrange meetings with Armenian American leadership organizations for a senior Turkish government official–by the name of Ecvet Tezcan–representing Turkey’s foreign policy and intelligence gathering agencies."The purpose of this effort–Hachikian explained–"is to deceive the US political community into believing that a "direct dialogue with Armenia’s" is currently in process. The specific intent of this effort is to derail our community’s most recent progress in the US Congress toward recognition of the Armenian Genocide."

The full text of the ANCA letter is provided below:

The Turkish Embassy and Turkish Consulates in the United States are seeking to arrange meetings with Armenian American leadership organizations for a senior Turkish government official – by the name of Ecvet Tezcan – representing Turkey’s foreign policy and intelligence gathering agencies. It is apparent that the real purpose of this effort is to deceive the US political community into believing that a "direct dialogue with Armenia’s" is currently in process. The specific intent of this effort is to derail our community’s most recent progress in the US Congress toward recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Consider the timing of this Turkish government initiative:

– It comes in the wake of the unanimous approval–on May 21st–of the Genocide Resolution (H.Res.193) by the US House Judiciary Committee.

– It follows the success of the ANC of Europe in securing–on June 5th–a series of sharply critical amendmen’s in the European Parliament’s report (Oostlander Report) on Turkey’s application for membership to the European Union.

– It follows the April 9th ANCA Armenian Genocide Observance on Capital Hill–which was attended by a record turn-out of more than 50 Members of Congress who are critical of Turkey’s campaign of Armenian Genocide denial.

– More broadly–it is rooted in Turkey’s fear of the implications of the growing strains in the US-Turkish relationship following its refusal to allow coalition forces to open a northern front in the war on Iraq.

This Turkish government effort is the product of the same political forces–uses similar methods–and seeks to accomplish the identical aims as the failed Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC). Like TARC–it is designed to create the artificial impression of a lack of unanimity among Armenian Americans regarding the Armenian Genocide. More specifically–it seeks to buy time–delaying consideration of the Genocide Resolution until the Turkish Government–aided by its lobbyists–has had time to repair the damage to its relations with the United States.

We strongly urge the leadership of the major Armenian American organizations to remain vigilant against such transparent Turkish initiatives aimed at manipulating our community and blocking our progress toward the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Any meetings with a Turkish government operative at this level will be used to undermine our Genocide recognition efforts in Congress. As such–we recommend that your organization not facilitate such efforts by agreeing to be part of these discussions.

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