09/03 TDN: Why Turkish-Americans are losing the battle?

Why Turkish-Americans are losing the battle?
Monday, September 3, 2007

The resolution on the ‘Armenian Genocide’ will soon be accepted in the US Congress and major troubles will arise for Turks, Americans and others


Finally the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) accepted that the 1915 killings were an act of genocide. Executive Director of the America Jewish Committee (AJC), David Harris, wrote an article on Aug. 21 declaring that he would admire any Turk who admits the genocide. This is a big step to lose the political battle in Washington. With more than 226 members of the United States Congress supporting resolution 106, it looks like it will be accepted.

Turkish-American ties will be harmed Turkish-Americans are losing because they are not fighting as well as they used to do. Many members of the NGO community are in Turkey for summer vacations, and they will learn soon that this is not a part-time battle. Also, both the Federation of Turkish-American Associations (FTAA) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) are weak with board members facing lawsuits now. The assembly's president is a representative of the Turkish government, and the president-to-be is the lawyer of the Turkish Embassy. This creates doubts in Washington about the ATAA's position and sincerity as an NGO. The FTAA is a different story with its 30-year-long unchanged administration. And what is the embassy doing? Nobody knows because phone calls are left unanswered. On the other hand, most Turkish academics are not afraid of the outcomes of any resolution passed by the U.S. Congress, as we experienced during the symposium on Turkish-Armenian conflict held in Ankara in May. This is very brave and perhaps the most logical attitude. The Turkish government and the Turkish people will be able to formulate new policies on their relations with Armenia, Europe and U.S. For the U.S., it is a different story. When the strong U.S.-Turkey-Israel ties are destroyed, the results will not be easy to accept for any U.S. administration. Losing Turkey for a 92-year-old conflict between its two sizeable minorities is going to hurt the U.S. – in Iraq and beyond. The U.S. will not be able to find another friend so effective in Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Turks are not going to change their historical beliefs in a day because the U.S. Congress wishes so. On the contrary, more people will act more aggressively against U.S. policies. The small and weak republic of Armenia is going to suffer due to the political developments. It may even find itself in the middle of a war with Azerbaijan since Turkish-Russian and Turkish-Iranian relations will get much better after the big ''G-day'' – the day Armenian-Americans will succeed for the first time in their history to carry the genocide resolution to the U.S. Congress.

Tight belts on Turkey Hard times are ahead for Turkish-Americans also. First, all efforts to bring Turkish-U.S. relations back to the level of the ''good old days'' will be completely ruined: No more cooperation and alliance talks. Second, Armenian-Americans will get more aggressive in schools and college campuses as happened with the last elections when the Democrats won. Finally, U.S.-Turkish business relations will be damaged, so will the businesses of many Turkish-Americans. What I am really puzzled by is this: How could the American public and their representatives risk to lose the war totally in Iraq, sacrifice a 60-year old friendship, and put in danger the always protected Israel to meet the demands of a minority? Yes, it is called ''politics'' but there is an issue that should always overcome politics, and that is national security. The western world is saying that it supports the Turkish government; however, three belts are tightened violently on Turkey: The Armenian, the Greek and the Kurdish belts. We will see how long the Turkish Republic will be able to breathe.


Vural Cengiz is the president of the Azerbaijani American Institute, and former president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. He can be contacted at vurcen@yahoo.com

Source: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=82456