The California Courier Online, September 23, 2021

1-         Turkish-American Groups Contributed

            $2.2 Million to Politicians Since 2007

            By Harut Sassounian
            Publisher, The California Courier
            www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com

2-         Baroness Cox Awarded ‘St. Sahak-Mesrop’ Medal by Catholicos
Karekin II

3-         Two Armenian women killed in Netherlands

4-         SF Mayor, ANCA-SF Commemorate

            St. Gregory Church Arson Attack

5-         Armenia Continues Fight Against COVID-19

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1-         Turkish-American Groups Contributed

            $2.2 Million to Politicians Since 2007

            By Harut Sassounian
            Publisher, The California Courier
            www.TheCaliforniaCourier.com

I came across a Turkish-American website, “tenthousandturks.org,”
which is described as: “Ten Thousand Turks Campaign.”

The website includes the combined information of five separate
Turkish-American political action committees (PACs): 1) Turkish
Coalition USA Political Action Committee (TC-USA PAC); 2) Turkish
Coalition California Political Action Committee (TC-CAL PAC); 3)
National Coalition of Turkish American Lawyers Political Action
Committee, (NC-TAL PAC); 4) National Coalition of Turkish American
Women Political Action Committee (NC-TAW PAC); 5) Turkish American
Political Action Committee (TURKISH PAC-TX).

The website states that the “Ten Thousand Turks Campaign,” was
launched on April 29, 2010. It is “dedicated to reaching out to over
10,000 Turkish-Americans and friends of Turkey willing to take a stand
to support candidates that understand the value of positive
U.S.-Turkish relations.” This coalition of PACs has adopted the
impossible task of fostering “positive U.S.-Turkish relations.” The
leader of Turkey, Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has done a great job of
undermining U.S.-Turkish relations as well as Turkey’s relations with
many other countries. I suggest that instead of wasting their hard
earned money, Turkish-Americans get rid of Erdogan which will
immediately improve U.S.-Turkish relations.

The group’s website claims that the five Turkish PACs combined have
raised a total of $2,152,849 from 2007 to 2020 for U.S. political
candidates. Interestingly, the amount of contributions they have
received has declined precipitously from a high of $510,765 in 2015-16
to a low of $202,640 in 2019-20. This may indicate that
Turkish-Americans are not as hopeful about improving U.S.-Turkish
relations by contributing to political campaigns. The website does not
explain how the group was able to raise money in 2007 to 2009 before
it was formed in 2010.

The Turkish website also provides the amount of money raised by each
of the five PACs in the 2019-20 election cycle: TC-USA PAC ($57,500);
TC-TAW PAC ($37,750); TC-CAL PAC ($44,490); TC-MIDWEST PAC ($35,800);
and TURKISH PAC-TX ($27,000). Some of the groups have changed their
names over the years.

Here is additional information regarding each of the five groups:

1) TC-USA PAC: This group’s fundraising declined from $231,950 in
2009-10 to $57,500 in 2019-20. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
G. Lincoln McCurdy is the Treasurer and Louette Ragusa is the
Custodian of Records.

2) TC-CAL PAC: This group’s fundraising declined from t$64,400 in
2015-16 to $44,490 in 2019-20. It is headquartered in Long Beach,
California. Maria Cakiraga is the Treasurer and Yelda Bartlett is the
Northern California Representative.

3) NC-TAL PAC: No fundraising information is available on its own
website. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The PAC’s Officers &
Executive Committee Members are: Doreen Edelman, President; Robert
Levent Herguner, Treasurer; Aylin Acikalin; Zeliha Arslan; Yelda
Bartlett; and Lawrence Cenk Laws.

4) NC-TAW PAC: No fundraising information is available on its website.
It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Tuba Firincioglu is the
Treasurer and Louette Ragusa is the Custodian of Records. Louette
holds the same position with the TC-USA PAC. The website claims that
there are nationwide 11 Turkish elected officials in city and local
governments and none at state or federal levels.

5) Turkish PAC-TX: No fundraising information is available on its
website and no executives are named. The group is headquartered in
Houston, Texas.

The “tenthousandturks.org” website provides the following additional
details: “In the 2019-2020 election cycle, the PACs contributed to the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), National
Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Congressional Black Caucus
PAC (CBC PAC), and Bold PAC (Congressional Hispanic PAC).

“The PACs also contributed to three U.S. senators, 61 candidates for
the U.S. House of Representatives, and 10 candidates for state or
local races. The percentage of wins was 100% for the Senate, 98% for
the House, and 50% for state and local offices. Further, the PACs were
instrumental in rallying support for the 11 Turkish Americans running
for public office in 2020, the largest number ever, and the three
spouses of Turkish Americans for a total of 14 candidates.

“Notable successes by the PACs in the 2019-2020 election cycle were
the following:

“(1) The comeback of Cong. Pete Sessions, the former Turkey Caucus
Co-Chair, in winning Texas’s 17th congressional district after his
loss in 2018 when he represented the 32nd district;

“(2) The election of Farrah Khan, a popular friend of Turkish
Americans in southern California, as the Mayor of Irvine, California;

“(3) The election of Turkish American Aycha Sawa as the City
Comptroller for Milwaukee, Wisconsin;

“(4) The reelection of Turkish American Tayfun Selen as a Freeholder
(County Commissioner) of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders
(County Commissioners) in New Jersey;

 “(5) The reelection of Ben Bartlett, spouse of Turkish American Yelda
Bartlett, as a City Council Member in Berkeley, California; and

 “(6) The election of Leah Ersoylu, spouse of Turkish American Sarp
Ersoylu, as a Trustee of the Newport Mesa United School District in
Orange County, California.”

Naturally, Turkish-Americans have the right to contribute to political
campaigns in the United States like any other American. The only issue
is that they are using their political outreach to spread lies about
the Armenian Genocide. Their political fundraising website is full of
disinformation about the Genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey against
Armenians. This is something Armenian-Americans need to counter with
their own “One Million Armenians Campaign.”

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2-         Baroness Cox Awarded ‘St. Sahak-Mesrop’ Medal by Catholicos
Karekin II

His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians on Friday awarded
Caroline Cox, a member of the British House of Lords and a staunch
advocate for the rights of the people of Armenia and Artsakh the
“Sourp Sahag-Mesrop” medal, the Etchmiadzin press office reported.

Cox, who is in Armenia to take part in the International Religious
Freedom and Peace conference organized by Karekin II. Cox met with the
Catholicos at the Holy See, where he highlighted the Baroness’ decades
of support and her advocacy in international circles for the rights of
the people of Artsakh, often shedding a light on the atrocities
committed by Azerbaijan against the Armenians. Baroness Cox has been
on the ground in Artsakh since the early 1990s, documents such events
as the Maragha Massacre carried out by Azerbaijani forces, which
annihilate an entire village in Artsakh during the Artsakh Liberation
War. She has established the Cox Rehabilitation Center in Stepanakert,
offering much needed assistance to children with disabilities and
wounded soldier from the frontlines.

After receiving the medal, Baroness Cox thanked the Catholicos,
assuring him that she will continue her advocacy on behalf of the
Armenian people and alert and inform international bodies about the
atrocities committed by Azerbaijan against the Armenians of Artsakh
and the desecration of Armenian cultural and religious monuments.

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3-         Two Armenian women killed in Netherlands

(Public Radio of Armenia)—Two Armenian women – Maral Dermovsesian and
Zonund Kardanakyan – were killed in a stabbing incident in Almelo, the
Netherlands. Both were members of the Armenian General Benevolent
Union (AGBU).

NL Times reported on September 20 that two people were killed and
another was hurt in a stabbing incident in Almelo on Friday morning.
The suspected perpetrator, a 28-year-old man from Almelo, was injured
during his arrest.

“AGBU Holland lost two of the most active women members through a
heinous stabbing crime. We lost two of our loved ones who served AGBU
for years tirelessly. They are the board member and chairperson of
Women’s Committee Mrs. Maral Dermovesian, and Mrs. Zonund Kardanakian
member of Women’s Committee,” AGBU Holland said in a statement.

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4-         SF Mayor, ANCA-SF Commemorate

            St. Gregory Church Arson Attack

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, joined by San Francisco
Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres and representatives from the Board of
Supervisors, visit St. Gregory The Illuminator Armenian Apostolic
Church to mark the one-year anniversary of the arson attack at St.
Gregory. Mayor Breed expressed her support for the community and
offered her assistance to ensure the building reopens as quickly as
possible.

“We appreciate the steadfast support from the Mayor and City
representatives over the past year as the community works to rebuild,”
said ANC-SF Board Member Roxanne Makasdjian.

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5-         Armenia Continues Fight Against COVID-19

Armenia is continuing the fight against the third wave of COVID-19
cases, as the country continues promoting the vaccination phase.

The U.S. State Department on July 26 warned American citizens to
reconsider travel to Armenia due to the increase in cases of the
Covid-19.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a
Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Armenia due to COVID-19, indicating a
high level of COVID-19 in the country,” said the State Department.

The State Department also urged U.S. citizens not to travel to the
Nagorno-Karabakh region due to armed conflict.

“The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S.
citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh as U.S. government employees are
restricted from traveling there,” the State Department added.

There were 12,307 active cases in Armenia as of September 21. Armenia
has recorded 254,436 coronavirus cases and 5,161 deaths; 236,968 have
recovered.

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS