Turkey under Media Scrutiny for Attacks on US Genocide Resolution

Major Story in Vanity Fair–Report by Public Citizen Allege Unethical Conduct by the Turkish Government and its Allies

WASHINGTON–DC (ANCA)–A major news magazine and a leading citizens’ group this week focused public attention on the unethical conduct of powerful opponents of legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide.

In its September issue–Vanity Fair published a 10-page story on FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds–who was fired after "she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals." According to the article by contributing editor David Rose–Edmonds claims FBI wiretaps reveal that the Turkish government and its allies boasted of bribing–with as much as $500,000–the Speaker of the House of Representatives as part of an alleged deal to stop consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

The article cites accounts by Edmonds regarding FBI wiretaps of the Turkish Embassy and Turkish groups such as the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA)–including–"repeated references to Hastert’s flip-flop in the fall of 2000–over an issue which remains of intense concern to the Turkish government–the continuing campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenia’s in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 a genocide."

Rose is careful to point out that "there is no evidence that any payment was ever made to Hastert or his campaign." According to the article–"Hastert’s spokesman’says the Congressman withdrew the genocide resolution only because of the approach from [President] Clinton–?and to insinuate anything else just doesn’t make any sense.’ He adds that Hastert has no affiliation with the ATC or other groups reportedly mentioned in the wiretaps.’" The full article can be read in the September issue of Vanity Fair.

In a separate development–CongressWatch–an arm of Public Citizen–recently released a 49-page report raising ethical concerns about lobbying by former Members of Congress. The report includes a 12-page case study of the Livingston Group’s lobbying efforts for the Turkish Government. The report details the efforts by Livingston Group founder–former House Appropriations Chairman Bob Livingston–to secure a "$1 billion supplemental appropriation for Turkey?despite that country’s refusal to allow US troops to use its soil as a staging area for the Iraq invasion. He also helped kill an amendment that would have formally recognized the Armenian genocide that occurred between 1915 and 1923. Turkey has always opposed this recognition." The Livingston Group has received over $9 million in paymen’s from Turkey. The entire report can be read at: www.lobbyinginfo.org/documen’s/RevolveDoor.pdf

"These behind-the-scenes accounts reveal a pattern of patently unethical and possibly even illegal conduct by the Turkish government and its allies in their efforts to oppose the Armenian Genocide Resolution," said Aram Hamparian–the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America. "Facing growing bipartisan Congressional support for this legislation–these interests are resorting to increasingly desperate means to avoid the international isolation that Turkey will face following US recognition of the Armenian Genocide."

In the months leading up the publication of these documen’s–the ANCA provided both Vanity Fair and Public Citizen with background materials–interviews–and first-hand accounts regarding Congressional efforts to recognize the Armenian genocide.

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