BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the keynote speaker Monday at the annual conference on U.S.-Turkey relations organized by the notorious Genocide denier group the American-Turkish Council.
While the American-Turkish Council mainly promotes business relations between the two countries, it has taken a significant role in lobbying for the defeat of Armenian Genocide recognition efforts in Congress.
In her remarks, Clinton not only extolled the virtues and importance of US-Turkey relations, but went on to welcome “Turkey’s growing role in the region and on the world stage,” after acknowledging that Turks and Americans alike have begun questioning the viability and durability of US-Turkish relations.
Of course, she used the opportunity to once again discuss the importance of the State-Department engineered dangerous Armenia-Turkey protocols by urging Turkey to ratify the documents.
“Improving relations between Turkey and Armenia would be a positive step, and we hope that the Turkish parliament will ratify the protocols during its current session and normalize ties with Armenia. These festering conflicts hold back progress and development in the region. Reducing tensions with neighbors, increasing stability, is a recipe for expanded growth and influence,” she asserted.
Emphasizing a similar message, Assistant Secretary for Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon said the US continued to exert pressure for sides to ratify the protocols.
The important aspect is not the message delivered but the message sent. Despite overtures to Armenia’s leadership and claims that the Obama Administration has done more for Armenia than any other administration, the US staunchly and unequivocally remains a supporter of Turkish interests, including on the matter of Turkey’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide.
[The sad reality of this equation is that the Armenian authorities have also bought into this charade with Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian constantly enumerating the number of meetings and phone calls he has had with Clinton and other US officials.]
If she were such a staunch supporter of Genocide recognition, as both she and president Obama claimed during their presidential bids, to a point that she was compelled to make that now historic “personal” visit to Dzidzernagapert last year, she could have used the opportunity at the ATC conference to urge Turkey and the Turks to come to grips with their past and acknowledge history. She did take time to urge Turkey to protect minority rights, end corruption and ensure the freedom of press. It seems acknowledging the Genocide does not fall in the human rights agenda for Secretary Clinton.
Since Clinton took office, she has not met with any Armenian organization. In 2009, she insisted on meeting with several Armenian organizations with the express aim of discussing—peddling—the Turkey-Armenia protocols. After rescheduling several times, the meeting was postponed due to a massive blizzard in Washington. Not only did that snow melt, but Washington has had two more winters since then. But, the meeting with the Armenian community is still on ice.
This continued courtship of Turkey and bowing to pressure of organizations such as the ATC further demonstrates that the Obama Administration is very comfortable with the gag rule imposed by Turkey. She is right to point out that Turkey owes its economic prosperity to the US, but fails to mention that the dividends of that relationship dictate its actions and not the interests of US citizens.