Hachikian: Why Do US Officials Allow Themselves to Be Used as Props in Erdogan’s Farce?

 WASHINGTONArmenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken Hachikian responded today to U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Daniel Baer’s Dec. 17 statement citing Turkeys “valuable” role in the Nagorno-Karabagh peace talks.

Response from ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian regarding U.S. Ambassador Daniel Baer’s remarks citing Turkey’s ‘valuable’ role in Nagorno-Karabagh peace talks.

“This Administration’s shameful legacy of endlessly caving in to Turkish threats—at the expense of our own values and interests as a nation—is truly a national disgrace—an embarrassment beneath the dignity of the American people,” Hachikian remarked, adding, “Tearing down the firewall between Turkey and the Karabagh talks would only result in adding more fuel to the fire, setting back the cause of lasting peace.”

Baer’s statement came following a comment by Aleksandr Lukashevich, the Russian ambassador to the OSCE headquarters in Vienna, who criticized Turkey’s position as member of the Minsk Group, and its unconditional support to Azerbaijan. Commenting on Turkey’s stance, Lukashevich noted that “attempts to defend one of the parties to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh are absolutely destructive and cannot have any continuation.”

Baer rejected such criticisms, defending Turkey’s “constructiveness” in the peace talks. “We note recent statements that have called into question Turkey’s constructiveness as a Minsk Group member and disagree with that assessment. Turkey has been a valuable member of the Minsk Group and has worked cooperatively with the Co-Chairs on finding a way forward in peace talks,” read a part of Baer’s statement.

In his statement, Baer welcomed the news that Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev are scheduled to meet on Dec. 19 in Bern, Switzerland, in a meeting mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. Baer also expressed “hope for intensified dialogue in 2016.”

In his strongly-worded statement, Hachikian highlighted Turkey’s “pro-Baku bias,” and criticized the international community for their unwillingness to “call them out on it.”

ANCA questions Turkey’s ‘valuable’ role in Karabagh peace talks

“Ankara makes no secret of its pro-Baku bias, and long ago abandoned any pretense of neutrality. Look at the facts: The Erdogan government actively supports [Azerbaijan’s President Ilham] Aliyev’s virulent anti-Armenian positions, openly providing military aid and training to the Azerbaijani military, while, at the same time, blockading Armenia, contrary to international law, and seeking to isolate Yerevan in the international arena. Turkey’s strategy—and the international community’s unwillingness to call them out on it—has emboldened an aggressive and intransigent Azerbaijan to increase its attacks—leading to over 43 Armenian deaths in 2015 alone,” read Hachikian’s statement.

Hachikian said U.S. officials were being “used as props in [Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s farce.” “Why… do U.S. officials allow themselves to be used as props in Erdogan’s farce, pretending that the Turkish government will—against all evidence—play the role of some sort of impartial mediator?,” asked Hachikian, adding, “Why is it that U.S. leaders can’t seem to find our moral compass when it comes to Turkey—on issues ranging from justice for the Armenian Genocide and a peace for Syria to freedom for Nagorno-Karabagh?”

Earlier today, in an ANCA social media posting regarding Baer’s comments, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian noted, “Instead of making such transparently unfounded excuses for an increasingly antagonistic ally, the Department of State and the OSCE leadership should publicly press Azerbaijan to lift its objections to the immediate implementation of the life-saving Royce-Engel peace proposals.

Below is Hachikian’s statement.

 

***

In the wake of Ambassador Baer’s recent reckless statement, it is clear that the leadership of our State Department needs to exercise considerably greater caution and thoughtfulness regarding officials who encourage a direct Turkish role in the Nagorno-Karabagh peace process.

Ankara makes no secret of its pro-Baku bias, and long ago abandoned any pretense of neutrality. Look at the facts: The Erdogan government actively supports [Azerbaijan’s President Ilham] Aliyev’s virulent anti-Armenian positions, openly providing military aid and training to the Azerbaijani military, while, at the same time, blockading Armenia, contrary to international law, and seeking to isolate Yerevan in the international arena. Turkey’s strategy—and the international community’s unwillingness to call them out on it—has emboldened an aggressive and intransigent Azerbaijan to increase its attacks—leading to over 43 Armenian deaths in 2015 alone.

Why then, do U.S. officials allow themselves to be used as props in Erdogan’s farce, pretending that the Turkish government will—against all evidence—play the role of some sort of impartial mediator?

Why is it that U.S. leaders can’t seem to find our moral compass when it comes to Turkey—on issues ranging from justice for the Armenian Genocide and a peace for Syria to freedom for Nagorno-Karabagh?

This Administration’s shameful legacy of endlessly caving in to Turkish threats—at the expense of our own values and interests as a nation—is truly a national disgrace—an embarrassment beneath the dignity of the American people.

Tearing down the firewall between Turkey and the Karabagh talks would only result in adding more fuel to the fire, setting back the cause of lasting peace.

***

Ambassador Baer’s Dec. 17 statement is available at:

https://anca.org/assets/graphics/2015/121715_OSCE_Baer_Turkey.pdf


Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: US Ambassador to OSCE Defends Turkey’s Role in Karabagh Peace Talks

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