Charles Hahn is running against Adam Schiff in the Congressional race in the 29th California Congressional district. A Republican, Hahn says, on his website: “I am running for office to give regular people a strong voice in Washington. I will fairly and openly represent everyone in the 29th Congressional District.” This can be an admirable aspiration for a candidate, except representing everyone in his district also means that a candidate must be sensitized to the issues and aspirations of a large number of his constituents.
The Turkish Coalition USA-Political Action Committee sponsored a private fundraiser last month in Orange County in support of Hahn’s candidacy. The fundraiser, hosted in the home of Ergun Kirlikovali, raised $8,741.42 in campaign contributions from 13 Turkish Americans, with a $2,300 contribution from the PAC itself. The host of this event, which was held outside of the district, runs histroyoftruth.com, a website created to deny the Armenian Genocide.
Asbarez contacted Mr. Hahn, who, like his campaign pledge on his website, claimed that he did not discriminate against any donors and claimed that even Armenia’s contributed to his campaign–alongside Turkish-Americans and Azeri-Americans.
Hahn told Asbarez that his goal was to “give a fair evaluation to everybody,” and solve what he called “the problem” together. He explained that by “together” he means that he is “gonna bring the Armenian government, Turkish government and Azeri government around the table,” to discuss “the problem,” which he said was that “many Armenian-Americans have expressed concern about the pain and suffering at that time.” In the same breath, he quickly went on to say that many Armenia’s were “angry” about the $700 billion government bailout, which he opposes.
So, representing everyone in the 29th District means that Mr. Hahn equates the anger that the Armenian constituents feel toward the systematic murder of 1.5 million people and its subsequent–and continued–denial by his campaign contributors to a bailout that was forced as a result of failed policies of his own party and leaders.
Rep. Schiff said the “Turkish lobby will not deter me from my efforts to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Over a million and a half Armenia’s perished in the first genocide of the last century, and no amount of spending by the forces of denial can rewrite history or discourage my pursuit of recognition."
Schiff is right to say the Turkish lobby will not deter his efforts, since this move is a specific strategy recently adopted by Turkey and its satellites here in the United States to counter Armenian-American efforts and directly target those elected officials who champion our cause in Congress and elsewhere. Last week, the Armenian National Committee of America revealed that the Turkish Government has hired former Bush Administration official, Noam Neusner, to harness Jewish American support for a Pro-Turkey agenda in Congress, with defeat of the Armenian Genocide Resolution as his top priority.
Adam Schiff has been a strong, vocal and active friend, ally and a proponent of Armenian-Americans not only during his eight-year tenure in Congress, but prior to that in California State Legislature. Rep. Schiff has represented his constituents by a) sensitizing himself to their issues and b) defending those interests and issues. He certainly did not take money from PACs and individuals that perpetuate the denial of a crime against humanity, which his opponent merely refers to as “a problem.” The real “problem” is when individuals like Charles Hahn who take money from the Turkish and Azeri lobbies and then turn around and claim that they represent the interests of their entire constituency. If you live in the 29th district, on Nov. 4 vote for Adam Schiff. If you have relatives in the district, please urge them to show up on Nov. 4 and re-elect Adam Schiff for Congress.
Georgia’s Most Recent Overture to Turkey
Georgia’s embattled President Mikheil Saakashvili dismissed his prime minister on Monday. The 37-year-old Lado Gurgenidze was sacked and replaced by the 35-year-old Oxford-educated Grigol Mgalobishvili. Until his appointment, the novice prime minister was Georgia’s ambassador to Turkey.
With the Russian-Georgian war drastically altering the Caucasus region and effectively allowing Turkey to play deal maker for what it calls stability in the region and beyond, Georgia has more and more looked to Turkey as an alternative to Russia. Of course, Georgia’s collusion with Turkey was one of the foreign policy strategies of the Saakashvili regime ever since it came to power in the US-backed Rose Revolution five years ago. The government’s ouster of Russian military forces from Georgia, coupled with its agreement to resettle Meskhti Turks in the predominantly Armenian-populated Samstkhe-Javakheti region of Georgia and its fervent involvement in the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway project, the Georgian wing of which was financed by gran’s from Turkey and Azerbaijan, signal Georgia’s complete submission to Turkey and its not-so-altruistic foreign policy goals.
So, what of Saakashvili’s pledge two weeks ago to Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian that his country will work side-by-side with Armenia to resolve regional issues, among them the continuing government oppression of Armenia’s in Javakhk?
It is worrisome that Saakashvili has opted to make his ambassador to Turkey his new prime minister, effectively calling into question his objectivity and honesty in resolving regional issues and crises. Perhaps, such impulsive and ill thought out moves were what prompted Russia to teach its neighbor a lesson last summer.
Minsk Group or No Minsk Group
Ever since President Abdullah Gul traveled to Armenia in September for what freely is being termed “soccer diplomacy” speculation on the effectiveness and longevity of the OSCE Minsk Group have increased in all circles. The OSCE Minsk Group with its French, Russian and US Co-chairmen, has been mediating a resolution to the Karabakh conflict.
On Tuesday, President Sarkisian clarified official Yerevan’s position on the matter by reiterating the Minsk Group was the only viable route for the Karabakh conflict resolution process.
However, within a week, two US ambassadors presented differing perspectives on the matter. On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Baku Anne Derse, told reporters “We are ready to participate in the Karabakh conflict resolution process and together with OSCE Minsk Group member-states continue searching for ways to resolve the conflict.” Her counterpart in Armenia, the newly-appointed Marie Yovanovitch said there are those in the US that question the viability of the OSCE Minsk Group and doubt whether it’s even worth continuing negotiations within the format. Two ambassadors of two neighboring countries that are party to the conflict present two differing opinions. Someone must not have gotten the memo.
This adds to Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s recent ran’s about whether the Minsk Group is viable or not, and their assertion to include Turkey as a co-chair.
All of this hinders the peace process. As the Minsk Group co-chairs prepare to visit the region and a presidential summit scheduled to take place Sunday in Moscow, all sides should take into consideration the great inroads made by the Minsk Group and let this entity continue its work without impedimen’s.
Tuesday is Election Day. It is the most important election in recent US history. VOTE