TABDC?

By Garen Yegparian

You’re wondering–"What’s tabdik?" Well–I refuse to get vulgar–but it would have been appropriate–’cause it’s an outfit that could be described as TARC-lite.

The Turkish-Armenian Business Development Council’s says it was organized in 1997 and posts protocols signed by both parties. It has addresses/contact information in the EU and the US–(recently incorporated as Turkish-Armenian Business Council) in addition to Armenia and Turkey.

Reading the documen’s posted on their website–it becomes clear that those involved are of the type who can’t see beyond their commercial noses. Everything is about trade. They are our own microcosm of the pell-mell globalizers wreaking havoc with people’s lives world-wide. The whole thing reeks of the "world is our commercial toy" mentality emanating from DC. One of their big concerns is opening the Armenia-Turkey border–one of those seems-like-a-great-idea-until-you-think proposals. This would decimate what little productive capacity Armenia has been able to develop under a flood of inexpensive Turkish goods. But hey–it’s commerce–therefore it must be good! They even claim to advocate passage of the Baku-Jeyhan pipeline through Armenia.

TABDC’s activity report reads like a stereotypical money-grubbing–to-hell-with-the-consequences merchant’s wet dream. So? Why is this such a big deal? How this any different from our Armenian importers and grocers supporting the Turkish economy?

Cultural exchanges seem to dominate the visual portions of this outfit’s website. Sure–you might think–if we appreciate one another on that level–other aspects of Armeno-Turkish relations will be easier. Their photo gallery posts shots–in the following order–of founders themselves–a Richard Hagopian and Lalezar concert (reported in Armenian papers at the time)–the Ankara String Quartet in Yerevan–the Komitas Quartet in Ankara–the Regional Economic Working Group–and TABDC-EU. Note this last one.

The Diaspora is also mentioned as a participant. But TABDC’s presence in the EU and US under that guise is very telling. Couple that with the remark "politics is stifling?possibilities." Then add the fact of the website’s being marked all over with "Copyright 2003." Finally–the New Year’s congratulatory e-mail sent to "TABDC Mail Group Members," a list that somehow included the Burbank ANC–is what triggered this article.

Why–after being in existence for six-seven years–does this website get created? Why the e-mail? Why the sudden burst of activity? Could something be going on? If I were a suspicious type–I might think it was because of Turkey’s activity on the European stage and the progress it’s making there. Clearly they want to subdue–subsume–any discussion of the Genocide. What better way than to claim to promote trade and amity between two "historic enemies?" Show pictures of a bunch of smiling Turks and Turmens (you know–those folk who carry an "ian" on their surname but are frequently indistinguishable from the highest functionaries of the Turkish government).

Still don’t buy it? TABDC supports "the efforts of TARC." How about Edward Boghosian’s presence on this website? This unsavory editor’s (The Armenian Reporter) interview with Abdullah Gul (Turkey’s Foreign Minister) is one of the items listed in TABDC’s list of relevant news items. In that interview–he describes how he got the interview–through the good offices of his "friend," NY dwelling Kaan Soyak–who–now hold your breath–is the Turkish half of the TABDC’s founding duo. The other is one Arsen Ghazarian.

Intriguing? Suspicious? I think so. Let’s add this to the slime list of US Department of State instigated outfits.

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