WASHINGTON–Lobbyists being paid millions of dollars by the Turkish government have taken center stage recently, as support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution pending in Congress, grows. Their efforts to distort the truth have not gone unnoticed either.
A recent article in the influential publication The New Republic by Michael Crowley examined the growing pressure the lobbyists are under to preach the “gospel according to Turkey.
The article, entitled “K Street Cashes in on the 1915 Armenian Genocide,” took aim at one time House Majority Leader and previous Genocide resolution sponsor Richard Gephardt, whose lobbying firm DLA Piper receives $100,000 from the Republic of Turkey to discredit efforts to pass the current resolution in Congress.
“A rising St. Louis politician in the mid-1970s, Richard Gephardt was among a dynamic group of aldermen dubbed "The Young Turks." So perhaps it’s not surprising that, 30 years later, the former Democratic minority leader of the House of Representatives has aged into an Old Turk. This spring, Gephardt has been busy promoting his new favorite cause–not universal health care or Iraq, but the Republic of Turkey, which now pays his lobbying firm, DLA Piper, $100,000 per month for his services. Thus far, Gephardt’s achievemen’s have included arranging high-level meetings for Turkish dignitaries, among them one between members of the Turkish parliament and House Democratic leaders James Clyburn and Rahm Emanuel; helping Turkey’s U.S. ambassador win an audience with a skeptical Nancy Pelosi; and, finally, circulating a slim paperback volume, titled "An Appeal to Reason," that denies the existence of the Armenian genocide of 1915,” thus began Crowley’s piece in The New Republic.
“It’s one thing to flip-flop on, say, tax cuts or asbestos reform. But, when it comes to genocide, you would hope for high principle to carry the day. In Washington, however, the Armenian genocide industry is in full bloom. And Dick Gephardt’s shilling isn’t even the half of it,” continued the article, adding that “Even in modern Washington, where it’s taken for granted that everyone has their price, flip-flopping on genocide has the ability to shock.”
Crowley pointed to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), the only House member with Armenian ancestry, who is dismayed by Gephardt’s reversal.
“Eshoo says she was recently in an airport with former Connecticut Representative Sam Gejdenson, one of the three co-signers on Gephardt’s 2000 pro-resolution letter to Hastert, when the pair spotted Gephardt. %u218Look who’s here!’ Eshoo mockingly exclaimed. %u218Hey Dick, the Kurds are looking for you!’ Gejdenson sardonically chimed in–referring to another foe of Gephardt’s Turkish client. Eshoo says it was just teasing among old friends. But, she pointedly adds of the former House Democratic leader: %u218Clearly this is not a principle of his. This is business,’” concluded the article.
Similarly, former Congressman Bob Livingston this week took center stage on The Hill, the Capitol Hill online broadcasting network, painstakingly making the case against the passage of the resolution. Livingston is the highest paid former legislature by the Turkish government.
“Our incredibly important democratic ally, The Republic of Turkey, is absolutely indispensable to US strategic and economic interests. Do we really want impose a definition of events occurring almost 100 years ago in terms that can only impair our relations with a nation of 70 million people, people who have supported all our strategic efforts for the last 60 years?” stated Livingston.
“If we are to have any success in the Middle East in the years ahead, Turkey MUST be at our side,” proclaimed the former Congressman.
The Armenian National Committee of America now has its own rebuttal on the website, where it point-by-point dissects Livingston’s allegations and sets the record straight.
On Monday, July 23, a second “Call In” day has been organized by the ANCA, which is urging the community to call Members of Congress and urge them to do what is right.
Please see the action alert section of our website for more on the National Call In Day and click on http://www.chbn.com/Clip.aspx?key=DAA8AC59EFDBF2EE to hear the rebuttal by the ANCA.