My Turn articles

Erdogan Deserves Medal As Fake Friend of Palestinians

In the past week the world witnessed an amazing performance by a government leader that even the most accomplished Hollywood actor could not match! Turkey’s Prime Minister deserves an Oscar for presenting himself as a great humanitarian and protector of Palestinians. The people of Gaza are certainly oppressed and deprived, but Erdogan is not their knight in shining armor! One cannot champion human rights with unclean hands! This is the height of hypocrisy!

Senate Should Scrutinize Bryza Before Confirming him as Ambassador to Baku

After a lengthy delay, Azerbaijan consented last week to the appointment of Matthew Bryza as U.S. Ambassador to Baku, an unnamed American official told The California Courier confirmed Bryza’s nomination through its own Washington sources. The White House is expected to shortly issue an official announcement. It is noteworthy that there has not been an American Ambassador in Azerbaijan since last July. When John Evans was recalled as Ambassador to Armenia in 2006 for using the term Armenian Genocide, the Bush administration pressured the Senate to quickly confirm his successor, claiming that the United States urgently needed an Ambassador in that country. Surprisingly, there has not been a similar sense of urgency in Washington, during the year-long absence of a U.S. Ambassador from Azerbaijan! Pres. Aliyev must have viewed this holdup as a snub to his country.

Turkish President of European Council Should be Barred from Armenia

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish President of PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe), offended his hosts by refusing to lay a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Monument during his visit to Yerevan last week. When the Armenian media questioned him about his refusal, Cavusoglu lied by saying that his predecessors had not done so either. Armenian journalists corrected him by pointing out that his predecessors had in fact visited the Genocide Monument. After getting caught, he changed his tune and confessed that it was his personal decision not to visit the Monument and asked that Armenians respect his wishes.

Turkish Scholar Taner Akcam Advocates Change in Policy of Genocide Denial

Dr. Taner Akcam, one of the first Turkish scholars acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, delivered two important lectures in Southern California last week. Based on historical research, he analyzed the underpinnings of Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and proposed solutions for its official acknowledgment. Prof. Akcam made his first presentation at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino on May 6, before the screening of Dr. J. Michael Hagopian’s Genocide documentary “The River Ran Red.” Rabbis Harold Schulweis and Edward Feinstein, Jewish World Watch President Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Dr. Hagopian, 96, a genocide survivor, and Archbishop Hovnan Derderian made brief remarks.

Frozen Protocols…And Warmed Over Obama Statement

Two developments on Armenian-Turkish issues spilled a lot of ink last week. Neither one was significant, but assumed significance because of extensive international media coverage.
On April 22, exactly a year after the release of the roadmap, ostensibly to normalize Armenia-Turkey relations, and six months after the infamous Protocols were signed by the two countries with great fanfare, Pres. Serzh Sargsyan announced their suspension.

Planting a Tree… On First-ever Visit to Artsakh

It may surprise some to learn that I had not been to Artsakh (Karabagh) until last week. Of course, I always wanted to go to Artsakh, but not as a mere tourist. I wanted to visit Artsakh on a special occasion which finally came on March 31. As Senior Vice President of The Lincy Foundation, I participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a newly built school in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh. Funded mostly by The Lincy Foundation and partially by the Government of Artsakh, the project was successfully implemented by Save the Children.