AYF Challenges Turkish Vice Consul General

LOS ANGELES–Members of the Armenian Youth Federation attended a coffee discussion last Sunday hosted by the Young Associates of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, which featured a discussion by Vice Consul of Turkey in Los Angeles, Anil Bora Inan. The Young Associates, a group that offers speakers and social events for young professionals, provided a forum for Vice Consul Inan to address the topic of Turkey’s candidacy to the European Union. Inan spoke to a group of 30 young professionals, 14 of which were Armenian youth. He first briefed the crowd about Turkey’s history and then discussed a number of issues related to the European Union, often mentioning the Armenian Diaspora and the Armenian Genocide issue as an obstacle to Turkey’s advancement into the EU. During a question and answer session following Inan’s briefing, members of the AYF bombarded Inan with questions regarding Turkey’s record of human rights, treatment of minorities, and denial of the Armenian Genocide. When asked about the Armenian Genocide, Inan repeatedly denied that what happened to the Armenia’s was genocide, insisting that it was only massacres and deportations as a result of war. One of the main topics covered during the question-answer session was the recent bill passed by the French National Assembly criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide. The Vice Consul expressed his opposition to the proposed law, calling it "French wrongdoings" and assured attendees that the law would never go beyond the lower chamber of the French legislature. The Vice Consul also denied that Kurds are deprived of their civil rights in Turkey. At the end of the evening, AYF members presented Inan with the book Ambassador Morgenthau’s story, written by Henry Morgenthau, the former American Ambassador to Turkey from 1913-1916. The book is a primary American document on the Armenian Genocide which contains reoccurring accounts of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Upon his arrival in Los Angeles in 2004, one of Vice Consul Inan’s main responsibilities became the observation of the Armenian American community in California. On many occasions throughout the evening, Inan stressed that he closely monitors Armenian organizations and individuals in California, especially for anti-Turkish activity. In doing so, he emphasized the strength and power of the California Armenian American community and its ability to advance the Armenian cause. Prior to arriving in Los Angeles, Inan served at the Turkish Embassy in Syria, where he was responsible for the bi-lateral political, military, security and cultural relations between Turkey and Syria. Inan has also served as Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2002-2004.

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