U.S. Tries To Keep Turkey In Its Orbit, Even Through Lies And Incomp

Karine Ter-Sahakyan

August 26, 2011

Washington now needs Muslim support which she so rashly lost due
to the fall of Hosni Mubarak. After all, Egypt and not Turkey was a
staunch U.S. ally in the Arab world.

Before 1915 there used to be around four thousand operating churches
in Western Armenia, of which only 44 in Istanbul and 6 in Anatolia now
operate underneath the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople. All
the rest were either destroyed or converted into mosques, warehouses,
sheds. Most of the churches are simply ruined, and they can be
recognized only by the few extant photographs. And U.S. Ambassador
to Turkey Francis Ricciardone, appointed by Barack Obama during the
Congressional recess, cannot but know all of this.

PanARMENIAN.Net – However, in response to a written inquiry from
Senator Robert Menendez about how many of the Christian churches
functioning prior to 1915 on the territory of present-day Turkey
are still operating today as churches, the U.S. diplomat answered:
“Most of the Christian churches functioning prior to 1915 are still
operating as churches.” The statement is once again dictated by the
policy of the U.S. State Department, which still considers Turkey
an important strategic ally in the Middle East, and is reluctant to
spoil relations with it. This statement also clearly fits into the
pattern of declarations of the U.S. presidential candidates promising
to recognize the Armenian Genocide and successfully forgetting
about their promises, once settled in the White House. The Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA) sharply criticized the “recess”
ambassador and compelled him to apologize, which Ricciardone did,
asserting that his ignorance of the fact was a purely technical
mistake. However, fact of the matter remained unchanged, since even
in his latest statement the diplomat stayed true to his unconditional
support for Ankara’s denial policy. “Most of the Christian churches
functioning prior to 1915 are no longer operating as churches. Many
churches do not offer services due to insufficient clergy, others
have fallen into disrepair or have been converted into mosques,”
ambassador’s corrected response read. It seems the diplomat has
“forgotten” about the destruction of architectural monuments – not
only Armenian, but also Greek, Assyrian and Catholic. The website of
Asbarez daily gives the list of Armenian and Greek churches that have
survived to our days, but no divine service is provided in them; the
churches are in bad shape. The list includes 60 Armenian and 75 Greek
churches, not to mention the numerous Armenian and Greek schools,
which no longer exist. Most of the destroyed churches were recorded
in the vilayet of Van – 322, Mush – 148, Sivas – 110, Trabzon – 89,
Erzurum – 65, Tunceli – 93… There were churches and chapels in
almost every village of Western Armenia.

“Ambassador Ricciardone’s demonstrably false assertion betrays a
callous disregard for Ottoman Turkey’s wholesale destruction of
Christian churches, and for the fate of the millions of Christians
faithful, who worshipped in their homeland within these holy sites
until their genocidal annihilation,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive
Director of the ANCA. “Whether his response is due to a truly
remarkable lack of awareness or, instead, to a willful distortion
of the facts of history to fit Ankara’s genocide denial narrative,
this nominee has clearly shown he’s unable to effectively advance U.S.

interests or American values as our nation’s representative in
Ankara.” But, judging by the events in Libya and Syria, it should
be noted that the ambassador pictures the U.S. interests in Turkey
quite well. Democracy and human rights, as practice shows, end where
national interests begin. But Washington now needs Muslim support
which she so rashly lost due to the fall of Hosni Mubarak. After
all, Egypt and not Turkey was a staunch U.S. ally in the Arab world,
and a fairly reliable one, unlike Turkey.

The issue of confirmation of the ambassadors to Turkey and Azerbaijan
is still in the U.S. Senate and a new hearing may still be held. The
latest statements of Francis Ricciardone will hardly add to his
credit and to a quick confirmation of his candidacy, but if the Obama
administration decides that he should be the one representing the
United States in Turkey, so will it be. Although the case with Richard
Hoagland, whom the senators did not approve as the U.S. Ambassador
to Armenia, should remind diplomats that the President’s decision is
not a final say, especially in a country like the United States.

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