ANCA Urges US to Oppose Deployment of Turkish Troops in Lebanon

Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]
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PRESS RELEASE
August 11, 2006
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918

ANCA URGES ADMINISTRATION TO OPPOSE DEPLOYMENT
OF TURKISH FORCES TO LEBANON-ISRAEL BORDER

— Argues that "the presence of Turkish troops would undermine
United States’ interests in a lasting and durable peace"

WASHINGTON, DC – In the interest of preventing further regional
unrest – and mindful of Turkey’s violent legacy in the Middle East
– the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) this week
expressed the Armenian American community’s opposition to the
prospect of Turkish armed forces being deployed between Lebanon and
Israel as part of a future peacekeeping operation.

In an August 9th letter to President George W. Bush, ANCA Chairman
Ken Hachikian called upon the Administration to oppose any proposal
to include Turkish troops in such a deployment, noting that,
"Turkey’s presence on Lebanese soil will only make the current
situation even worse." He added that, "as Armenian Americans – the
sons and daughters of a people who endured genocide at the hands of
the Ottoman Turkish government – we are especially mindful of
raising the legacy of Turkey’s brutal Ottoman rule over the Middle
East and unnecessarily introducing a nation with history of
destabilizing behavior into an already complex and highly sensitive
region."

Stressing that, "Turkey’s record of persecution and genocide has
left deep scars in the collective memory of the Lebanese people,"
Hachikian explained that, "it would be immensely insensitive on the
part of the United States to promote Turkish participation in an
international peacekeeping force that will need every ounce of
credibility and goodwill that it can muster in order to succeed in
such a highly delicate and challenging mission."

The opposition of the Greek American community on this matter was
communicated to the President last week in a letter from the
American Hellenic Institute.

The complete text of the ANCA’s letter to President Bush is
provided below.

#####

August 9, 2006

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to share with you the Armenian American community’s
opposition to any deployment by Turkey of its armed forces to serve
as part of peacekeeping force between Lebanon and Israel. We
learned of this possibility from news reports of Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice’s recent discussions in the region.

The presence of Turkish troops would undermine United States’
interests in a lasting and durable peace. As Armenian Americans –
the sons and daughters of a people who endured genocide at the
hands of the Ottoman Turkish government – we are especially mindful
of raising the legacy of Turkey’s brutal Ottoman rule over the
Middle East and unnecessarily introducing a nation with history of
destabilizing behavior into an already complex and highly sensitive
region.

Turkey’s record of persecution and genocide has left deep scars in
the collective memory of the Lebanese people. The famous Martyrs’
Monument in Central Beirut is a vivid reminder of the record of
mass brutality that Turkey has left behind in this tortured land.
It would be immensely insensitive on the part of the United States
to promote Turkish participation in an international peacekeeping
force that will need every ounce of credibility and goodwill that
it can muster in order to succeed in such a highly delicate and
challenging mission. Turkey’s presence on Lebanese soil will only
make the current situation even worse.

As Armenian Americans, we are, as you know, profoundly troubled
that, more than eight decades after the collapse of the Ottoman
Empire, the Republic of Turkey continues to deny this atrocity.
The Turkish government has compounded their ongoing attempts to
escape responsibility for this crime, effectively seeking to
complete the evil campaign launched in 1915, by, even today,
blockading and seeking to isolate Armenia. In addition, Turkey
maintains its military occupation of Cyprus, more than thirty years
after its illegal 1974 invasion. Within its own borders, Turkey is
regularly cited as among the worst abusers of human rights. In
only the past few days, the Turkish military has, against the
advice of U.S. officials, threatened to launch cross border attacks
into Iraq, a move that has the potential of severely destabilizing
U.S.-led coalition efforts to bring peace to this troubled nation.

As you know, Turkey has, in recent years, proven itself an
unreliable U.S. ally on a number of occasions. First and foremost
among these was its refusal, in March of 2003, to allow Coalition
forces to open a northern front in the Iraq War. Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld has said that the strength of the current
Iraqi insurgency is due, in large part, to Turkey’s rejection of
our request for cooperation in this crucial aspect of the war.

Mr. President, we respectfully call upon you to consider our
reservations, and those already expressed to you by our friends in
the Greek American community, on this matter of profound importance
to our nation’s interests in the Middle East.

Sincerely yours,

[signed]
Kenneth V. Hachikian
Chairman

www.anca.org

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