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Reader's letters
Turkish Propaganda 07/24/2003
Armenians Should Not Help
Spread Turkish Propaganda

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Ever since the Turkish Parliament's rejection of stationing American troops
in Turkey for the purpose of invading Iraq, the Turkish government has lost
a great deal of support in Washington. This Turkish betrayal has not only
angered large segments of the American public, but also the overwhelming
majority of the members of Congress. Even more importantly, Pentagon's
pro-Turkish hawks have been so embarrassed by this unexpected Turkish
disloyalty that they have become highly critical of Turkey for the first
As a result, the U.S. government has not only cut back substantially its own
aid to Turkey, but has also created serious obstacles for the multi-billion
dollar loan package to be provided by the International Monetary Fund.
Furthermore, Turkey has been reduced to the role of a spectator in the
critical developments taking place in neighboring Iraq, particularly in the
Kurdish region.
In the past two weeks, Turkish-American relations have become particularly
aggravated after U.S. forces captured 11 Turkish soldiers in Northern Iraq
for plotting to assassinate the Kurdish Mayor of Kirkuk. The Turkish public
went into a total frenzy when they learned that the Americans had treated
the Turkish soldiers like al-Qaida terrorists by handcuffing and
blindfolding them before whisking them by helicopter to Baghdad for
interrogation. Even though the Turkish soldiers were eventually released,
particularly after Prime Minister Erdogan made several frantic phone calls
to Vice President Dick Cheney, the Turks never got the apology that they had
demanded from Washington. On the contrary, the Americans put the Turks on a
shorter leash as far as their military activities in Iraq are concerned!
As the Turkish public was getting increasingly disgruntled with Erdogan's
series of missteps, the Turkish government started looking for an issue on
which it could declare quick victory in order to boost its tarnished image
at home. Its best bet was the pending Senate resolution on the Genocide
Convention which included a passing reference to the Armenian Genocide. The
resolution had garnered 30 co-sponsors, short of the 51 votes needed to
assure its passage. Knowing that the Bush administration was already opposed
to this bill, the Turks tried to show that the United States was backing
Turkey on this issue just like in the good old days!
The Turkish media reported that Erdogan, during his conversation with
Cheney, asked the Vice President to oppose the Genocide resolution.
Capitalizing on the fact that one of the Senators had filed an amendment to
possibly attach the Genocide resolution to the State Department
Authorization Bill, the Turkish media started regularly reporting that the
Genocide bill was about to come up for a vote at any moment. The Turks,
claiming that Cheney was busily contacting Senators asking them to vote
against this resolution, declared victory on a daily basis for allegedly
succeeding in preventing the bill from coming up for a vote.
While it is understandable why the Turks would put out self-serving
propaganda in order to push their agenda forward, it is not at all
understandable why the Armenian media would be disseminating these Turkish
lies as fact, thereby misleading the Armenians into thinking that they were
defeated once again in seeking the recognition of the Genocide.
The fact is that the resolution on the Genocide Convention has not yet been
scheduled for a vote. The Turks should not be given any credit for killing a
bill that is still pending in the Senate. It was the height of absurdity for
the Turks to claim that they were able to prevent this bill from approval on
Friday, July 18, when in fact the Senate did not even meet on that day! Why
would t he Armenian State TV, the press in Armenia as well as in the Diaspora
report these Turkish allegations as fact? Why would the Armenians get the
news about this resolution from Turkish sources rather than from the press
releases of their own political organizations?
The Genocide resolution now has 31 co-sponsors in the Senate and more are
joining on a weekly basis. Last week, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) became
the latest co-sponsor. If this bill were dead, why would a U.S. Senator lend
his name to it? This resolution is also supported by a coalition of more
than 60 Jewish, Bulgarian, Laotian, Greek, Arab, Italian, Liberian,
Cambodian and Armenian groups as well as religious and human and civil
rights organizations. The Turkish press has prominently mentioned that the
American Jewish Committee (AJC) has written a letter opposing this
resolution. This claim is another propaganda ploy to show that "the Jews"
are backing Turkey once again!
While it is sadly true that the AJC has sent a letter to some Senators
opposing this bill, what the Turks do not report is that 15 other
Jewish-American organizations have lent their names in support of the
resolution. They are: American Friends of the Alliance Israelite Universelle
(NY), American Jewish League of Israel (NY), American Jewish World Service
(NY), Brookdale College Center of Holocaust Studies (NJ), Consultative
Council of Jewish Organizations (NY), Council of Jewish Education (NY),
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs (NY), Friends of the New England Holocaust
Memorial (MA), Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (MA),
Jewish Funders Network (NY), Jewish War Veterans of the USA (Wash., DC),
National Committee for Labor Israel (NY), Reconstructionist Rabbinical
College (NY), The Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet
Jewry (NY), and Union of Orthodox Rabbis (NY).
It is shameful that the AJC would continue supporting the Turkish deniers of
the Armenian Genocide. Given the fact that 15 other Jewish groups support
this bill, it is obvious that the AJC leaders are out of touch with the
sentiments of their own community. Furthermore, it is highly peculiar that a
Jewish group would lobby against a bill that reconfirms the facts of the
Jewish Holocaust among other genocides! Having joined the revisionists of
the Armenian Genocide some time ago, one wonders if this particular Jewish
group is now backing the revisionists of the Jewish Holocaust?
Finally, the Turks have spent a lot of financial and political capital
during the past two weeks contacting Bush administration officials, members
of the Senate and Jewish groups trying to kill a bill that is gaining
momentum in the Senate. If they are going to spend so much effort every time
that this resolution might come up for a vote, one hopes that the Turks
would have exhausted their lobbying dollars as well as what little goodwill
they have left in Washington when the resolution finally reaches the Senate
While the Turks are foolishly running themselves to the ground, it may be
wise for the Armenian media to stop parroting the Turkish lies and take
their cue from much more reliable Armenian political organizations in
back ...