The Turkish lobby in the US

Recently the US House of Representatives passed a vote recognizing and condemning the Armenian genocide. As a big fan of Rep Ilhan Omar I was mighty disappointed by her voting “present.” Several “nay” votes came from Republicans from Indiana, of all places. The Turkish government has powerful lobbies in Washington and elsewhere, including universities. This article does important work in exposing some of that.

Comments

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Recently the US House of Representatives passed a vote recognizing and condemning the Armenian genocide. As a big fan of Rep Ilhan Omar I was mighty disappointed by her voting “present.” Several “nay” votes came from Republicans from Indiana, of all places. The Turkish government has powerful lobbies in Washington and elsewhere, including universities. This article does important work in exposing some of that.

    I'm assuming that Armenians are largely being used as a proxy here, to punish Turkey for what they're doing in Syria right now?

    I'm also wondering, because I really don't know, if there's a sectarian divide that might explain the votes of the Hoosier Republicans, at least. Do Christians tend to support memorialization of the genocide, perhaps out of solidarity with their Armenian co-religionists?

    Indiana does not appear to anywhere on the charts in terms of having a large Armenian population[/url].

  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    edited November 2
    Right, the resolution is really a slap at Turkey today. When governments grandstand about human rights it is almost always to attack a geopolitical rival or keep an uppity ally in line. Hence, while it’s a good thing IMO, it’s worth noting that it’s taken 100 years for this resolution to come about. I think Rep Omar hinted at this in her justification for the “present” vote but the revelation of possible Turkish backing makes that rather suspect. She could have made the point differently while supporting a long overdue recognition.

    I don’t know if Armenians have much of a lobby here. They are a small part of the population; Armenia is a poor country, more aligned with Russia. On the issue of Nagorno Karabakh/ Artsakh the US and the West tend to side with Azerbaijan and Turkey owing to the importance of Caspian oil.

    As far as I can tell, American Christians who are aware of the genocide see it as an important issue, though it often dovetails with Islamophobia and the “jihad watch” milieu. The victims also included Syriacs and Greeks, and there is a small but wealthy Greek presence in many parts of the US who readily support the Armenians on this one.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    I think Rep Omar hinted at this in her justification for the “present” vote but the revelation of possible Turkish backing makes that rather suspect. She could have made the point differently while supporting a long overdue recognition.

    What do you mean by "possible Turkish backing"? What kind of backing, and for what or whom?

  • I’m referring to this bit from the above article:
    Greenberg Traurig, whose donations have skewed Democratic in 2018, made inroads on both sides of the aisle in Congress. The firm’s most recent filing reported numerous emails and two meetings apiece with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and the chief of staff for Representative Ilhan Omar, the only member of the Democratic Party not to vote to recognize the Armenian genocide or approve sanctions against Turkey. Omar’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

    It’s worth recalling that Lindsey Graham is a recent victim of Lexus and Vovan, the Russian prank callers, who called him pretending to be Turkey’s defense minister, leading Graham to disclose sentiments quite at odds with his crocodile tears over the betrayal of the Kurds.
  • Lots of Turkish people in Australia, including acquaintences of mine, emigrated from Turkey because they were dissenters from the brand of Islam which is dominant there and which backs the current Government. I don't think they would support Erdogan under any circumstances.

    One bloke I was quite friendly with a few years ago emigrated from Cyprus as a child and is an adherent of Gulen's brand of Islam. He is not a fan of Erdogan, but he would very much dislike the recent actions of the US House. His view is that there was an ongoing conflict between Turks and Armenians at the time, and that the Genocide (a word he would not use) was part of that conflict.

    I imagine that Turkish people in America would have similar attitudes to their country of origin.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    I’m referring to this bit from the above article:
    Greenberg Traurig, whose donations have skewed Democratic in 2018, made inroads on both sides of the aisle in Congress. The firm’s most recent filing reported numerous emails and two meetings apiece with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and the chief of staff for Representative Ilhan Omar, the only member of the Democratic Party not to vote to recognize the Armenian genocide or approve sanctions against Turkey. Omar’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

    It’s worth recalling that Lindsey Graham is a recent victim of Lexus and Vovan, the Russian prank callers, who called him pretending to be Turkey’s defense minister, leading Graham to disclose sentiments quite at odds with his crocodile tears over the betrayal of the Kurds.

    Thanks.
  • There are Turks who are not at all reluctant to recognize the Armenian genocide. They are brave people.
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