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Armenia Should Not Allow TARC ... 01/22/2004
Armenia Should Not Allow
TARC to Meet in Yerevan

 
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
 
The members of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) are
back at their old tricks again, secretly plotting their next moves.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) revealed last week that TARC,
composed of a small group of Turkish and Armenian individuals, mostly
financed and directed by the U.S. government, held yet another secret
meeting-this time in London. The meeting was chaired by David Phillips, an
adviser to the State Department, and Joseph Montville, a former U.S.
diplomat.
RFE/RL reported that the meeting, held at the Royal United Services
Institute, a private think tank "close to the British Defense Ministry,"
lasted for three days. An Armenian member of TARC who did not wish his name
disclosed told RFE/RL, "the two sides agreed to avoid publicizing their
activities for the time being given the political sensitivity of the
subject."
It does not come as a surprise that the members of TARC want to hide their
activities from the public. They have learned valuable lessons from their
earlier "mistake" of telling the public at large what they were really up
to. Shortly after TARC was formed back in 2001, Ozdem Sanberk, one of its
Turkish members revealed to an Azerbaijani internet newspaper the true
intent of the group. He said, "the basic goal of our commission is to impede
the initiatives put forth every year in the U.S.  Congress and parliaments
of Western countries on 'the genocide issue'....  The key goal is to prevent
'the genocide' issue from being regularly brought onto the agenda in Western
countries.... The significant matter for us is that 'the genocide' issue is
not discussed by the American Congress anymore. As long as we continue the
dialogue, the [genocide] issue won't be brought to the congressional agenda.
If it is not discussed in Congress, we, meaning Turkey, will gain from that.
The US Congress will see that there is a channel of dialogue between Turks
and Armenians and decide that 'there is no necessity for the Congress to
take such a decision while such a channel exists.'"
After Sanberk's amazing revelation was quoted in this column, the Armenian
members of TARC had a very unusual reaction. Rather than immediately
resigning from the group and condemning its sinister goals, at their next
meeting which was held in Istanbul, they chastised Sanberk for making such a
public statement and decided that henceforth the members of TARC would not
speak to the media.
It is interesting that a secretive group which wants to hide from the public
its sources of funding, expenditures, discussions, decisions, and
activities, recently set up a website (http://www.tarc.info/) ostensibly to provide
information to the world at large. Not surprisingly, the website has very
sketchy information. Nevertheless, it does confirm that while the four
Armenian members of TARC are (shockingly) still on board, four of its six
Turkish members have resigned. Mr. Sanberk, the Turkish member who had made
that important revelation about TARC's real goals, is no longer on board.
The four Turks were replaced by five others: Emin Mahir Balcioglu, Ahmet
Evin, Ersin Kalaycioglu, Sule Kut, and Ilter Turan. The TARC website
provides no information on their backgrounds.  One wonders why TARC is
composed of only four Armenians and seven Turks?  When TARC was first
formed, one of its four Armenian members proudly announced that several
other Armenians would shortly join TARC!  Fortunately, in almost three
years, the TARC members have not been able to persuade a single Armenian to
join the group, while there seems to be no shortage of Turks who want to
come on board!
Haykakan Zhamanak, an opposition newspaper in Armenia, revealed last week
that th e TARC members decided in London that their next meeting would take
place in Yerevan. While the group has had meetings in Geneva, New York,
London and at least once in Istanbul, it has never met in Armenia.
Given the shadowy nature of this group, its covert funding by a foreign
government and its goal of subverting the international recognition of the
Armenian Genocide, the Armenian government should consider not permitting
the group to meet in Yerevan by refusing to issue entry visas to the foreign
members of TARC. By allowing such a meeting on its soil, the Armenian
government would be facilitating the aims of those who are intent on
undermining the recognition of the Genocide. At the very least, the Armenian
government should demand that TARC make public its funding sources,
expenditures, activities, and future plans!
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