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Turks Help Publicize Genocide 10/09/2003
By Lashing Out at Switzerland,
Turks Help Publicize Genocide

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The regional parliament of the canton (province) of Vaud in Switzerland
adopted a resolution on September 23, in recognition of the Armenian
Genocide.

Given the restrained text of this resolution (it mentioned neither the Turks
nor the Republic of Turkey) and the negligible influence the canton's
decisions have on world politics, very few people would have even heard of
this resolution, had the Turks just kept their mouth shut. The Turkish
Foreign Ministry, by over-reacting and lashing back at the government of
Switzerland, helped publicize worldwide the decision of this tiny Swiss
canton on the Armenian Genocide!

Ankara announced that it was retaliating by canceling the trip to Turkey of
the Swiss Foreign Minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey. By taking such an excessive
step, the Turks managed to offend not only the people of Switzerland, but
also the government of that country which had sided with Turkey to block
previous attempts of the Swiss Parliament to recognize the Armenian
Genocide.

The Swiss Ambassador to Ankara, Kurt Wyss, said Switzerland called Turkey's
decision "exaggerated and disproportionate." Canceling the Foreign
Minister's visit was a personal "affront" to the Foreign Minister and to
Switzerland, the Ambassador said. Mrs. Calmy-Rey described the Turkish
action as "a disappointment" and said that the move would make relations
between the two countries "complicated." Swiss parliamentarian Hans-Rudolf
Merz was certain that the Turks made a mistake by canceling Mrs. Calmy-Rey's
visit. Merz said that it was in Turkey's interest to maintain friendly
relations with western nations if it wanted to join the European Union.

As an additional indication of the strained relations between the two
countries, the Swiss Senate's foreign affairs committee announced last week
that the visit of six of its members to Turkey next month was being
canceled. The committee said that the time was not right for dialogue with
Ankara.

Who would have thought back in 1915 that almost 90 years later relations
between Turkey and Switzerland would be disrupted because of the Armenian
Genocide? This is an important victory for Armenians. If the Turks would
take similar harsh measures against other countries in retaliation for their
recognition of the Armenian Genocide, consequently isolating their pariah
state from the community of civilized nations, Armenians would be satisfied
that today's Turks are paying a price for the denial of the crimes committed
by their forefathers.

The souring of relations between the two countries was not the only benefit
Armenians gained from this episode. The cancellation of the Swiss Foreign
Minister's visit was covered by dozens of Swiss, Turkish, Greek, and
Armenian newspapers as well as wire services worldwide, all of them
describing, some in great detail, the cold-blooded murder of over one
million Armenians and its denial by Turkey. Therefore, Turkey unwittingly
helped publicize the facts of the Armenian Genocide to a world audience!

Furthermore, given Ankara's insulting reaction, more Swiss legislators, both
at the cantonal and federal levels, who were heretofore reluctant to offend
the Turks, are more likely to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian
Genocide in the future.

The worldwide publicity generated by the coverage of this incident will also
prompt other countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Turks may
have thought that raising "a big stink" on this occasion would help serve as
a warning to other countries not to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Ankara
has issued similar empty threats in the past. Following the French Senate's
recognition of the Armenian Genocide, for example, Turkey recalled its
Ambassador, threatened to cancel the purchase of French arms, and issued
several anti-French statements. Within a few weeks, however, it sent its
Ambassador back to Paris and sought France's support for its EU bid. The
Turks quickly realized that they need France much more than France needs
them! Therefore, no one should be surprised if the Turks turn around and
invite the Swiss Foreign Minister and the Senate committee members to visit
Ankara in a few weeks.

Seeing these Turkish bluffs, other countries will be encouraged, rather than
discouraged, to pass resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide, knowing
full well that Turkey's bark is far worse than its bite!

Protest Pres. Bush's Fund-Raiser in Fresno

A fundraising luncheon is planned on October 15 in Fresno for the
re-election of Pres. Bush. The invitation states that to be listed in the
program as "Lunch Sponsor," one needs to raise $20,000. To qualify as a
"Lunch Committee" member, one needs to raise $10,000. Individual tickets are
$2,000 for "Gold Level" seating and $1,000 for "Silver Level" seating.

No Armenian-American who cares about his or her heritage and honors the
memory of the 1.5 million martyrs should contemplate contributing a single
dollar for the re-election of Pres. Bush who made a false promise to the
Armenian community four years ago to recognize the Armenian Genocide. He has
not only ignored his promise, his administration has gone to great lengths
to undermine and defeat all resolutions on the Armenian Genocide both at the
state and federal levels!

Rather than contributing funds, Armenian-Americans should turn out in large
numbers in front of the Fresno Convention Center on October 15, to protest
Pres. Bush's presence in Fresno and to remind him of his broken promise.

Since Pres. Bush fooled the Armenian community into supporting him the first
time around four years ago by making a promise which he did not keep,
Armenian Americans who contribute to his re-election either do not care
about the Armenian Genocide or do not care about being lied to!

Readers are urged to call the person in charge of this luncheon, Michael
Sowers, at 916-443-7444, and tell him why they would not be attending the
President's fund-raiser. At 11 a.m., on October 15, Armenian protesters
should gather in front of the Fresno Convention Center to let the President
know that they do not appreciate being lied to!

As the popular saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice,
shame on me!"
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