LONG BEACH, CA— Turkish Ambassador to the United States Osman Faruk Logoglu addressed US-Turkish ties to an audience of over 200 students, professors and members of the community at the California State University in Long Beach (CSULB) Thursday evening, kicking off, what Turkish Embassy correspondence has called a tour around the US. Although Ambassador Logoglu tried to focus his remarks on the topics of Turkish-US cooperation, the question and answer session that followed was dominated entirely by questions regarding Turkey’s abysmal human rights record, continued illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus, denial of the Armenian Genocide and its widespread oppression of the Kurds in Eastern Turkey. Armenian National Committee and Armenian Youth Federation activists continuously asked Ambassador Logoglu to explain his government’s record on human rights.
Showing annoyance at the barrage of questions, the Ambassador accused members of the audience of not having correct facts associated with their questions and described the Armenian Genocide as “a story with two sides.” This comment encouraged hecklers in the audience to denounce his statement by shouting “What about the [Jewish] Holocaust?” drawing parallels between the first two genocides of the twentieth century.
Inside the lecture, ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian led the questioning of the Turkish Ambassador, who, according to attendees, evaded core issues and criticism of his government’s severe shortcomings, particularly in the areas of human rights as well as its blind support of Azerbaijan, which has been documented to have hosted Al Qaeda and Taliban cells within its borders.
Outside the CSULB Main Library, where the discussion took place, members of the ANCA–WR, AYF activists, as well as members of the CSULB Armenian Students Association staged a peaceful protest, distributing fliers and speaking with members of the campus community about the facts of the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s internationally condemned record of human rights. Banners reading “Armenian Genocide = Crime Against Humanity” and “Armenian Genocide Recognition Equals Human Rights Affirmation” attracted several hundred individuals to the protesters, who engaged the interested individuals with facts sheets and information. Volunteers and activists also passed out literature outlining Turkey’s violations of human rights to passersby and individuals walking in and out of the lecture.
“As the grand children and great grand children of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, it is our obligation to continue to remind Turkey of their past and present crimes and confront their propaganda wherever and whenever we can,” said ANC activist Pedro Zarokian. “I’m annoyed that our US tax dollars go to support such a corrupt and criminal government such as Turkey and its my right to voice my disapproval.”
The Armenian National Committee of America is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots political organization. The ANCA actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian-American community.