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[E] No Meetings with Turkish Diplomats, by Harut Sassounian

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 PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2004 7:51 am    Post subject: [E] No Meetings with Turkish Diplomats, by Harut Sassounian Reply with quote Back to top

The California Courier | April 8, 2004 | Harut Sassounian, Publisher

No Meetings with Turkish Diplomats

In April or Any Other Month

The Turkish Vice Consul in Los Angeles asked me if I would be interested in meeting this week with a visiting high-ranking diplomat, Amb. Ecvet Tezcan, who is the Director of the Dept. of Intelligence and Research at the Foreign Ministry of Turkey.

I turned down the invitation just as I had done last June when I was first asked to meet with this same diplomat. In my opinion, the Turkish government’s real intent is not dialogue, but creating a false impression with European and American officials that Turkey is trying to resolve its differences with Armenians. The Turks hope this deceptive effort would help remove one of the many obstacles on their path to joining the European Union.

Last year, when several major Armenian-American organizations met with Amb. Tezcan in New York and Los Angeles, I expressed a similar concern. As expected, that fake experiment in dialogue ended in failure. Just one month after meeting with Amb. Tezcan, the Armenian Assembly of America sent him a terse letter complaining that recent statements made and actions taken by the government of Turkey "stand in sharp contradiction to the tone and substance of our earlier meeting. They raise serious doubts about the goals of your country’s policies. We would therefore welcome the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s clarification on these apparently conflicting attitudes in order to justify future exchanges on the issues that divide us."

Last week, Amb. Tezcan flew to the United States hoping to meet again with various Armenian organizations in New York and Los Angeles. This time, though, the Armenian Assembly refused to meet with him, indicating that it would be inappropriate to hold such a meeting during the month of April, when Armenians are commemorating the Genocide. The Armenian Assembly proposed to meet with him after April, but only after the two sides "critically assess what has transpired" since their meeting last year. "Dialogue without results is not in anyone’s interest…we need to lay out our objectives prior to meeting," the Assembly told Amb. Tezcan.

In order not to appear divided on this most significant issue, I hope that other Armenian organizations, particularly those that met with Amb. Tezcan last year, turn down the invitation this time around, refusing to meet with him not just in April, but during all the other months of the year, until the Turkish government decides to carry out an honest dialogue with Armenians!
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