April 20, 2007

Washington, DC-In response to an opinion piece written on April 10, 2007 in The Washington Times by Tulin Daloglu, a freelance journalist, entitled: Genocide or not, several Armenian activists flooded the Times with letters to the editor. Jules Boyadjian, an intern in the ANCA office in Washington, DC and ANC ER Chairman Dikran Kaligian, had their letters printed. Their responses rebutted Daloglu on various aspects of her article, and can be seen below:

Washington Times
Editorials/ Op-Ed
Turkey in denial
Turkey’s calls for Gaz de France’s withdrawal from the Nabucco project (“Denying
massacre hurts ties to West,” World, Monday) are economically and politically insignificant for France.

Politically, the leading Socialist Party presidential candidate, Segolene Royal, recently stated that Turkey cannot join the European Union without recognition of Armenian genocide. The chairman of the Socialist Party, Francois Hollande, argued that even a French referendum on Turkish EU accession would be pointless without Armenian genocide recognition.

Economically, trade between France and Turkey has increased consistently since France’s adoption of the genocide resolution in 2001 — by a margin of 131 percent between 2001 and 2006, to be specific.

At this moment, the French company Alstom is cooperating with Japanese and Turkish partners on a $323 million Turkish railway deal.

Europe figured out long ago that Turkish threats are exaggerated. The European Parliament report on Turkey’s accession to the European Union has consistently made mention of the Armenian genocide. Turkey’s response: a few weeks of angry statements, and the relationship moves on as usual.

A democracy must not capitulate to genocide deniers and must carry out its human rights duty by adopting the Armenian genocide resolution.

Armenian Youth Federation
Valence, France

Washington Times
Editorials/ Op-Ed
Don’t ignore Armenian genocide
In her zeal to prove that there is more free speech regarding the Armenian genocide in Turkey than the United States, Tulin Daloglu resorts to a very selective use of facts (“Genocide or not,” Op-Ed, Tuesday). She doesn’t inform readers that there have been dozens of events on Turkish-Armenian relations in the United States, including one at Harvard just recently that featured professors from Turkey and America.

In praising Turkey for having its first academic conference in 90 years on the 1915 massacres, Miss Daloglu fails to mention that Turkey’s minister of justice publicly called the Turkish professors who participated “traitors” and twice blocked the conference. She also hopes readers forget that the most prominent Turkish-Armenian who attended the conference, newspaper editor Hrant Dink, was assassinated in broad daylight in the streets of Istanbul just three months ago.

Finally, she hopes everyone ignores the elephant in the room, the Turkish government and its multimillion-dollar genocide denial campaign. The reason why Armenian Americans, using their First Amendment rights, were able to persuade universities to cancel certain events was because they were able to show that the organizers were acting as fronts for a foreign government trying to corrupt American academia to pursue its denial campaign.

Chairman, Armenian National Committee
Eastern U.S.

Washington Times

Genocide or not
By Tulin Daloglu
April 10, 2007

One would assume that the question of whether what happened between Turks and Armenians during World War I constitutes “genocide” is not an important issue in American politics or the American consciousness. Yet for Turkish Americans, it remains a constant source of anxiety and fear of discrimination or reprisals if they express a different point of view. Generations later, even in this country that celebrates freedom of speech and debate, they feel that publicly discussing the issue will engender more hate. “I can still remember my friends’ parents saying, ‘What are we going to do if our daughter marries a Turk?’” said Angelina Kara. Born in Istanbul to a French father and a Turkish mother, Angelina, 30, was raised as a Christian, married a Muslim Turk, and lives in California. “These parents never thought while raising their children in Istanbul that [the children] might eventually one day at least date a Muslim Turk. They threatened to cut their children off if they did.” “Non-Muslim communities live within their own circles in Turkey,” Angelina said. “They marry within their own religion. Frankly, they feel superior to the Muslim Turks … I remember visiting my Armenian friends. They were not encouraged to make friends with the Turks. They made friends with other Armenian kids going to the Sunday school at church. During the summer, they were usually sent abroad to their relatives or worked with their fathers.”

Angelina’s is a unique perspective on Turkish social norms. Not all non-Muslim Turkish families distance themselves from Muslim Turks, but she notes that a significant number prefers to live in a separate world. Angelina and her husband, Tolga, seem to deal with their worlds by celebrating their ethnic and religious differences. Yet she worries that in Turkey, the distance between the two will ultimately jeopardize the country.

In California, this young Turkish American couple sees firsthand the hard work of the Armenian American lobby for a non-binding congressional resolution that would declare the mass killings of Armenians on Turkish soil “genocide.” But there is another side. Tolga remembers his grandmother: “Until she died five years ago, she wept for her father. She used to tell stories about World War I, and how the Armenians raided their home in Erzincan late at night and took her father and uncle. Days later, they found her uncle’s body dismembered on the side of a small stream. They never found her father”.

Tolga says that until he moved to California, he’d accepted the past as a tragedy of war. But his experience in the United States has opened his eyes to how deeply Armenians hate Turks: “One day I saw a young man staring at me in a bad way. I did not understand it, and thought I was being too sensitive. A few days later, I ran into him again, and he stared at me in the same way — this time pointing his finger. I asked him what his problem was, and he kept pointing — so I called the police. He was an Armenian, but [because there was no physical altercation] what he was doing was merely an exercise of free speech.”

Turkey does not have a great record on free speech — but that has been changing. Over the last several years, academic conferences and television programs have publicly debated the Armenian accusations. The United States, however, has been less favorable toward such public conversations. Last year, the University of Southern California cancelled a conference titled “Turkish-Armenian Relations: The Turkish Perspective.” A press release from the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) read, “The ANCA-WR, working with USC Armenian student groups, Alumni and school supporters, was able to demonstrate to USC officials the misguided and sinister nature of this panel which led to its cancellation.”

A few years ago, Armenian students at USC protested the annual Turkish Night organized by the USC Turkish Student Association. The USC Daily Trojan reported that “the dance was shut down for safety,” and that a party-goer who requested anonymity out of concern for his safety called the protesters “hostile-looking and intimidating.”

Recently, a concert at Brown University titled “The Armenian Composers of the Ottoman Period,” in which two Armenian and two Turkish musicians were to perform, was cancelled. Its aim was to bring together Turks and Armenians through music, but the Armenians who agreed to participate faced tremendous pressure to keep their distance from the Turks.

Many Turkish Americans fear the Armenian American community’s power in the United States. They don’t understand why no doubt exists about what happened between Armenians and Turks. They wonder why no one remembers the murdered Turkish diplomats by Armenian terrorists or numerous silenced academicians. They feel that the “genocide” claims feed an industry –influential Armenian committees, non-governmental organizations and academics promoting their “truth” — attached to politics. They understand that politicians need to get elected and must satisfy their constituents’ needs. But they also demand an environment free of intimidation and fear.

Tulin Daloglu is a free-lance writer.

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Karine Birazian
Email / Tel: (917) 428-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
Eastern Region
PO Box 1066, New York, NY 10040
Tel. (917) 428-1918 * Fax. (718) 478-4073 * Email.
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