Armenians protest outside Turkish Embassy in Washington

10.06.2005 13:43

YEREVAN (YERKIR) - Armenian Americans stood vigil in front of the
Turkish Embassy on June 5, calling attention to that governments
ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide, as Turkish and American
government officials and industry leaders attended a kick-off
reception for the American Turkish Council (ATC) annual conference,
reported the Armenian National Committee of Greater Washington
(ANC-GW).

Over 50 Armenian Americans held signs calling for recognition and a
just resolution of the Armenian Genocide as well as the end of Turkeys
twelve-year blockade of Armenia and the implementation of human rights
reforms. ANC-GW representatives passed out flyers to reception
attendees informing them that the ATC has used your good name to deny
genocide a misguided act that embarrasses you, disgraces the Council,
and calls into question the core values of the company you
represent. The flyer called on ATC members to perform a true service
for U.S.-Turkey relations: Urge the ATC and Turkey to stop denying the
Armenian Genocide.

It is morally reprehensible that Turkey continues to coerce
U.S. companies to become complicit in the Armenian Genocide through
their misguided participation in anti-genocide recognition efforts,
stated ANC-Greater Washington representative Arsineh Khachikian. Our
protest vigil today was aimed to urge our U.S. corporate leaders to
disassociate themselves from this destructive campaign and create a
U.S.-Turkey relationship based on truth and justice.

Reaction from the attendees was mixed, with most accepting and reading
the flyers as they entered or left the function. One Turkish attendee
refused the flyer, proudly stating my father had killed many of your
families. Embassy staff and organizers were clearly disturbed with the
protest, which garnered extensive media coverage from Turkish
television and print journalists representing a broad range of news
agencies.

The protest coincided with the opening reception of the American
Turkish Council three day annual conference bringing together top
U.S. and Turkish government and industry leaders, focusing on
expanding U.S. Turkey relations and commercial ties. Speakers at the
conference include Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Gul and
other top Turkish Ministers.