Daily Activism Will Escalate Leading up to December 7th Obama-Erdogan White House Meeting

November 24, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Midway into the month-long Armenian American grassroots campaign to encourage President Obama to personally confront Turkey’s Prime Minister with the facts of the Armenian Genocide during their December 7th White House meeting, the Armenian National Committee of America’s (ANCA) “Countdown to Erdogan” has come under heavy fire from a Turkish lobby that appears increasingly nervous about the impact that Ankara’s growing rift with Washington will have on U.S. complicity in its genocide denial campaign.

Turkish Lobby Attacks “Countdown to Erdogan” as a Blitzkreig:

In a memo recently circulated to Members of Congress, the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) sharply attacked the “Countdown to Erdogan” campaign, using words such as “blitzkrieg,” “radical,” and “hatemongering” to describe the ANCA’s grassroots civic activism. The TCA, in particular, attacked the ANCA for opposing unfair and dangerous concessions forced upon Armenia in recently negotiated Turkey-Armenia Protocols. The TCA supports these Protocols, and claims to stand in solidarity with “moderate” Armenians who share the Turkish American community’s support for provisions establishing a “historical” commission and calling for the mutual recognition of the current Armenia-Turkey border.

In a note posted on the ANCA Facebook page, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian provided a translation of key terms in the TCA’s memo, “for those not well versed in Turkish Lobby Speak”:

1) Radical: People who believe the response to genocide should be truth and justice.

2) Hate-mongering: Refusing to accept lies and genocidal cover-ups.

3) Blitzkreig: A public education campaign informing US leaders about Turkey’s real record.

4) Intimidation: Giving voice to the civic concerns of the overwhelming consensus of Armenians.

Click here to read Hamparian’s note and the original Turkish Coalition letter.

Media Encouraged to Cover All Facets of Obama-Erdogan Meeting:

Starting on Monday, November 23rd, the third week of the “Countdown to Erdogan” campaign began with a focus on media monitoring, urging Armenian Americans to scan media outlets in their area and report factual errors and bias to the ANCA. On Tuesday, activists were encouraged to reach out to their local newspapers and encourage them to cover the Obama-Erdogan meeting from a local angle, by including expressions of Armenian American community concerns. On Wednesday, attention will be focused on ending the cycle of genocide by participating in a Save Darfur supported campaign to stop violence against women. The weekend will focus on writing letters to the editor and expanding outreach on the Armenian Genocide through blogs, commenting on news stories and other social networking initiatives.

This Thanksgiving: Watch, Connect, Act:

Family gatherings taking place this Thursday, will, in literally hundreds of thousands of Armenian American homes, represent a vital bridge and meeting place between those more actively engaged in Armenian American civic life and those sometimes less aware of these issues or not as involved in the Armenian Cause. To help leverage these situations, the ANCA offers the following three suggestions:

1) Watch:
Be sure to watch the Armenia Fund Telethon and support its efforts to strengthen the city of Shushi –

2) Connect:
Take a moment to talk to your relatives about the latest news on Armenian issues and the efforts by Armenian American organizations to seek truth, justice, strength, and security for the Armenian nation. Explore the ANCA website for interesting discussion items.

3) Act:
Take a photo of your family holding up a small sign saying: “President Obama, Recognize the Armenian Genocide,” (or the message of your choice), and email it to anca@anca.org.

About the Countdown to Erdogan Campaign:

Countdown to Erdogan is a four-week, grassroots campaign urging President Obama to speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide when he meets on December 7th with Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan.

Their White House meeting represents a vital chance for President Obama – who earlier this year broke his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide – to tell Turkey that America fearlessly and forcefully condemns all crime against humanity.

On each day remaining until December 7th, the ANCA will organize a new action – ranging from online advocacy, call-in days, and social networking to coalition building, community outreach, and fieldwork. The campaign’s first week addressed the U.S. Senate, the second the U.S. House, followed by the media during the third week, and then, in the final seven days, a final push with the White House.

Background on the Protocols:

Commenting recently on the ANCA’s Facebook Page, Executive Director Aram Hamparian explored the motives behind Turkey’s decision to launch its Protocols initiative:

“Last year, Turkey’s leaders, fearful of the impact of an Obama victory and keenly aware that their new foreign policy direction – on Iraq, Iran, Israel and a host of other issues – would seriously limit their traditional ability to beat U.S. policymakers into line, shifted gears in their Armenian Genocide denial campaign, moving from an outdated strategy of outright threats to the creation, instead, of a pretense of dialogue with Armenia, in the form of the Protocols, in order to stave off recognition of its genocidal crime by a new and potentially unpredictable U.S. Administration. Today, the results are clear: Ankara is using the Protocols “process” to help manage the tensions caused by its increasing independence from Washington in a way that both preserves its prerogatives to act against U.S. interests (on Iran, Israel, etc.) while, at the same time, preventing the U.S. from recognizing the Armenian Genocide.”


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 * Email.anca@anca.org
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