TURKBAIJAN PROPAGANDA IN BLOOM
Keghart.com Editorial Board
10 December 2010
Until recently Azerbaijan was the junior partner of Turkey in
anti-Armenian propaganda and in the falsification of ancient and
current Armenian history. But in the past year Baku has become
Ankara’s full-fledged partner in anti-Armenian rhetoric. Flushed by
revenues from its petroleum wells, Baku is spending serious money
in lobbying efforts to denigrate Armenia, Armenians, and Artsakh,
and to misrepresent the Armenian/Azerbaijani conflict. In the past
year Azeri propaganda has shown its hydra-head around the globe, from
Kazakhstan to Syria, from Germany to the United Kingdom, to Canada,
and the United States.
Thanks to aggressive efforts, the Azeri lobby is now stronger than the
Armenian lobby in the British parliament, according to Tale Haydarov,
the chairman of the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS). The group
has published a book (“Visions of Azerbaijan”) and produced TV shows
disseminating its version of the Artsakh conflict, while at British
universities and other educational institutions TEAS has organized
lectures about the Khojali “massacre,” in addition to spreading other
erroneous versions of the Armenian/Azerbaijani hostilities.
In late November Mahir Aliyev, Azeri ambassador to Syria, was
interviewed by a leading Damascus-based magazine, “Al-Azmenah”, where
Aliyev condemned Armenians for “occupying” parts of Azerbaijan. Just
before the Dec. 1 meeting of the Organization of Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Union of
Azerbaijani Organizations in Kazakhstan sent a statement to the
participants of the OSCE summit, demanding the righ0ts of Azeri
“refugees” from Artsakh.
Two weeks ago the University of Toronto was the venue for the First
Azerbaijani-Canadian Academic Grassroots and Advocacy Conference.
Organized by the university’s Azerbaijani Student Association,
the Azerbaijan-American Council, and the Azeri embassy in Canada,
the event was intended to train Canadian-Azeri community in advocacy
against the Canadian-Armenian community, and Armenians in general.
Around the same time, the Azeri ambassador was guest on a popular
Toronto radio talk show.
In the United States, the Azeri lobby, with the assistance of Ross
Wilson, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan, is pushing
for the repeal of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act of 1992 which,
prohibits direct U.S. government assistance to Azerbaijan.
When it late November Bako Sahakyan, the president of Artsakh,
visited Southern California to help launch the Armenian fundraising
telethon and deliver a speech to the World Affairs Council-Orange
County (WAC-OC), the US Azeri Network (USAN) sent a protest letter to
WAC-OC about Sahakyan’s visit and made inquiries at the U.S. State
Department about Sahakyan’s visit. As a result of USAN’s letter,
WAC-OC wrote to the Azeris, saying, “We have revised the flyer
[re the event] to ensure our descriptions [of the Armenian/Azeri
conflict] are impartial and factual.” As well, Elin Suleyman,
consul-general of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles, demanded the cancellation
of Sahakyan’s visit. Azeri and Turkish communities of Los Angeles
held a demonstration (admittedly feeble one) to protest Sahakyan’s
speech at the WAC-OC event in Newport Beach, forcing the president of
Artsakh to arrive and leave via the backdoor. While Harut Sassounian,
publisher of The Armenian Courier, accurately pointed out that the
demonstration fell flat on its face, the new and vigorous efforts of
the Azeris in California-the state which, has, by far, the highest
concentration of American-Armenians-indicates that Armenians in the
U.S. have a serious fight on their hands.
Although the anti-Armenian campaign of American-Azeris is certainly
an unwelcome development, as great a threat-if not even a bigger
one-to the Armenian Cause is shaping up in Europe. The First World
Azeri Youth Congress in Frankfurt (Nov. 29) was attended, according to
Azeri sources, by representatives of 41 Azeri youth organizations in
Azerbaijan, plus 131 youth organizations from 23 countries and leaders
of Azeri Diaspora organizations from 25 countries, including 23 people
from Russia. The Azerbaijan youth organization of Russia was led by
Leyla Aliyev. [The proliferation of Azeri diplomats and organization
leaders who carry the name Aliyev makes one wonder how many relations
Sultan Ilham Aliyev has installed to eminent and cushy positions.]
Addressing the Frankfurt gathering, Ali Hasanov, the head of Azeri
Presidential Administration’s department of public-political issues,
said the main tasks before Azeri youth “in the whole world is to
protect Azerbaijan’s natural heritage from Armenian usurpers and to
oppose Armenian propaganda and fabrications.” In a clumsily-worded
speech, Hasanov added, “Azeri young people in the world must be
converted to such a significant factor, force which may be taken
into consideration in those countries where they live… the more
your words have importance in states, where you live and study, the
more it will have great significance for the dissemination of the
fair Azeri country’s voice in the world. In this direction you must
act in all states together with Turkish Diaspora and make effort to
tackle jointly mutual problems.” Similar views were expressed by other
prominent Azeris, including Elshad Isgandarov, the secretary-general
of the Youth Forum of the Organization of Islamic Conference.
The above developments and more demonstrate that the Armenians have
their job cut out for them as they do battle against growing Azeri
and Turkish propaganda.
What should Armenians do? We should intensify our efforts to deflate
the Turkbaijan campaign. We should coordinate the efforts of various
Armenian organizations around the globe against Azeri and Turkish
propaganda. We have to strengthen our Armenian Diaspora links,
across continents, to make sure we are ready to counter effectively
to Turkbaijan efforts, whether it’s in Canberra or in Copenhagen,
in California or in Canada.
Armenians of Armenia and of Artsakh have expert knowledge of the
conflict with Azerbaijan, of Baku politics and psychology. Armenians of
the Armenia-Artsakh should be partners in shattering Turkbaijan lies.
We have to keep abreast of developments in Azerbaijan, particularly
regarding announcements and events which relate to Baku’s campaign
against us. Certainly, we have to take the vociferous Azeri challenge
more seriously than we have done in the past. Baku is no longer a
bit player in anti-Armenian propaganda.
To dominate the narrative of the Armenian/Azeri/Turkish conflict,
our antagonists have primarily money and oil on their side. Armenians
have truth, morality and a burning commitment to obtain justice for
our people-in Armenia, in Artsakh, and in the Armenian Diaspora. A
new and crucial front has been opened by Turkbaijan Sr. and Jr. in
their war against Armenians. Let’s brace for it without fear, but
with renewed awareness of what is at stake.
From: A. Papazian