SACRAMENTO–State Treasurer Philip Angelides Tuesday refused to approve a $30,000 contract with a consulting firm whose recent report to the California Public Employees Retirement System Board–dishonored the memory of 1.5 million Armenia’s who were massacred by the Turks in the Armenian Genocide in 1915.
The staff og CalPERS–the nation’s largest pension fund–was recommending retention of the consultant to help evaluate investmen’s in foreign markets.
In a recent report on political risks linked to investment in Turkey–prospective consultant Marvin Zonis wrote–"With the Ottoman loss in World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire–Ataturk resolved to create a state restricted to the Anatolian peninsula and Istanbul across the Bosporus that would be a national home for the Turks. The very large Greek minority fled to Greece. The Armenia’s were dealt with in a different way."
"This analysis is outrageous–insensitive and disrespectful," said Angelides. "We cannot forget atrocities like those committed against the Armenia’s in the early part of this century any more than we can let those of Europe in the early thirties and forties or Cambodia in the seventies be forgotten."
Upon Angelides’ recommendation–the CalPERS Investment Committee unanimously voted against Zonis’ contract–indicating that any reconsideration of this action would require an apology and full explanation of the offensive passage.