08/23 TDN: Turkey will try to win back the hearts of the American Jewish community

Turkey will try to win back the hearts of the American Jewish community
Thursday, August 23, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

The recognition of the World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide by the national Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has shocked Turkey, which is now trying to overcome this by taking compensatory measures. The ADL is an advocacy group aiming to stop the defamation of the Jewish people.

Experts and advisors to the government cabinet held a meeting with diplomats at the Foreign Ministry yesterday to determine a strategy that will win back the hearts of Jewish Americans, the Turkish Daily News learned.

A similarly strategic meeting is expected to be held in the coming days by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He might try to engage in phone diplomacy to convince the Jewish lobby, according to the diplomatic sources.

“The strategy is to convince the ADL first, and if we cannot do that then Turkey will try to counter the Jewish lobby in the U.S. This cannot be a blank acceptance for Turkey,” said a Turkish diplomat.

“We were not expecting such a decision. Last week, they fired the director who used [the term ‘genocide']. What I understood is that after the director was fired, a discussion started in the ADL. We were in contact with the ADL two days ago,“ said an expert on American-Turkish relations.

The decision might negatively influence Jewish votes in the U.S. Congress since there are more than 100 Jewish Americans in the House of Representatives, the expert said.

“We will try to establish a connection with the ADL again and will try to convince them first,” said a person who attended the meeting.

“If they insist on defining the period as genocide, then Turkey will take necessary steps against that. Of course we will not identify the Turkish Jewish community with the American Jewish one. We will also get in contact with Israel to understand the reasons behind the decision,” added the source.

Since the Jewish lobby is seen as an important political tool for Turkey's policies in Washington, Ankara avoids making non-diplomatic statements in reference to the Jews.

Ankara fears that the U.S. will recognize the events of 1915-1919 as genocide, and is also concerned about its impact on bilateral relations.

Source: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=81632