Protest vigil at Turkish embassy coincides with welcoming reception for leaders of American Turkish Council
WASHINGTON–DC (ANC-GW)–Armenian Americans held a protest vigil in front of the Turkish Embassy on Monday calling attention to that government’s ongoing denial of the Armenian genocide–as Turkish and American government officials and industry leaders attended a kick-off reception for the American Turkish Council (ATC) annual conference.
Organized by the Armenian National Committee of Greater Washington (ANC-GW)–over 50 Armenian Americans held signs calling for recognition and a just resolution of the Armenian genocide–as well as the end of Turkey’s twelve-year blockade of Armenia and the implementation of human rights reforms. ANC-GW representatives passed out flyers to reception attendees informing them that the ATC "has used your good name to deny genocide–a misguided act that embarrasses you–disgraces the Council–and calls into question the core values of the company you represent." The flyer called on ATC members to "perform a true service for US-Turkey relations: Urge the ATC and Turkey to stop denying the Armenian Genocide."
"It is morally reprehensible that Turkey continues to coerce US companies to become complicit in the Armenian Genocide through their misguided participation in anti-genocide recognition efforts," stated ANC-Greater Washington representative Arsineh Khachikian. "Our protest vigil today was aimed to urge our US corporate leaders to disassociate themselves from this destructive campaign and create a US-Turkey relationship based on truth and justice."
Reaction from the attendees was mixed–with most accepting and reading the flyers as they entered or left the function. One Turkish attendee refused the flyer–proudly stating "my father had killed many of your families." Embassy staff and organizers were clearly disturbed with the protest–which garnered extensive media coverage from Turkish television and print journalists representing a broad range of news agencies.
The protest coincided with the opening reception of the American Turkish Council three day annual conference bringing together top US and Turkish government and industry leaders–focusing on expanding US Turkey relations and commercial ties. Speakers at the conference include Prime Minister Erdogan–Foreign Minister Gul and other top Turkish Ministers. US officials slated to speak include the Honorable Stephen Hadley–Assistant to the President on National Security; Matt Bryza–NSC director for the Aegean–Caucasus and Central Asia; Eric Edelman–US Ambassador to Turkey; and Elizabeth Jones–former Assistant Secretary of State.
The Council has consistently lobbied against successive Genocide resolutions–using the names of top US companies including Raytheon–Boeing–Lockheed-Martin–and others in their advocacy efforts. For more information about the ATC and their member companies–visit: www.americanturkishcouncil.org.