TASC, TURANT Take Action in Texas

TASC sent the following letter to the Texas House and Senate leadership, as well as the Texas House Committee on International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs, in opposition to HR 191. This law is a step in the direction of a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Turkey.  It is our job as Turkish Americans to stop this at the roots.   The letter is   supported by the statements of the U.N Spokespersons Farhan Haq and Stephane Dujarric, and Princeton Historian Bernard Lewis 

Letter to Texas  House and Senate Leadership:Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 1.00.20 PM

TURKISH AMERICAN NATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE

March 14, 2017

Honorable Joe Straus
Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
Capital Office: Room 2W.13
Capital Address: P.O. Box 2910, Austin TX 78768 Tel (512) 463-1000
Fax (512) 463-0675
Joe.Straus@speaker.state.tx.us

No to HR 191
No to Religious and Ethnic Divisiveness in Texas

Dear Mr. Speaker:

On behalf of one million Turkish and Turkic Americans nationwide, including approximately 50,000 in the State of Texas, the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) urges you not to support HR 191, which prejudicially incriminates people of Turkish heritage and the Republic of Turkey of the crime of genocide against the Armenians in 1915.

Civil War within a World War: The Ottoman-Armenian of 1885-1919 was a civil war within a world war. More than a million Ottoman Muslims and Jews on one side and a half million Armenians on the other side of this conflict perished, as Russia used the Armenians as proxies to weaken the Ottoman Empire in the east while the British invaded at Gallipoli in the west. While we Turks are proud to have defeated the British and Russians in these simultaneous wars, we are very sad because the majority of the casualties were civilians who died due to the privations of war. Over 40 million civilians perished in Europe, the Caucasus, and the Middle East in WWI.

Near East Relief Fund, Red Cross and Clara Barton: HR 191 strategically ignores the Near East Relief Fund, which was implemented jointly by the United States and the Ottoman Empire to help victims, both Christians and Muslims, during the conflict in the Ottoman East during WWI. The fact that the Ottoman Empire welcomed and assisted this humanitarian aid effort refutes the genocide allegation. Furthermore, Clara Barton, who cared for both sides in the American Civil War and founded the American Red Cross, was hosted by the Ottoman Government to form the Red Crescent and to facilitate humanitarian aid to both sides of the Ottoman-Armenian conflict.

1526 18th Street NW Suite 200
Washington DC 20036
Info@OurTASC.org

Honorable Joe Straus
Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
March 14, 2017

Clara Barton’s historic home in Washington DC proudly displays two flags, American and Ottoman Turkish.

Longstanding U.S. Foreign Policy: HR 191 contravenes U.S. federal policy of disfavoring legislative enactments that make this incrimination. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand an 11-0 Ninth Circuit en banc decision invalidating a California law that utilized this controversial term.1 All U.S. Presidents to date have stood by this policy, and we can expect President Donald Trump to do the same.

Legal Foundations: HR 191 ignores the facts and the law. Genocide is defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, to which the United States is a party, and which binds the 50 states. In 1985, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights considered and decided not to accept a report that referred to the Armenian case as genocide. In 2000, 2007, and 2015 the U.N declared that it did not accept the Armenian case as genocide.2 More recently, the European Court of Human Rights High Commission held in Perincek v. Switzerland that disagreeing with the Armenian claim of genocide did not constitute genocide denial, because the Armenian case was not a proven case of genocide.3

Foreign Intervention: Finally, please cast a careful eye at the Armenian advocates who may be lobbying for HR 191. According to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), a usual promoter of anti- Turkish initiatives, is not only the U.S. representative of a foreign political party, the nationalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), it refuses to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).4

Perhaps more chilling, ANCA’s former chairman, Mourad Topalian, was convicted of weapons and explosives charges which the FBI connected to at least four terrorist attacks, while ARF’s militant wing, the Justice Commandos (JCAG), was complicit in more than 20 terror attacks on American soil, including four assassinations.

1 http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2012/02/23/07-56722.pdf, and http://www.ataa.org/press/US-Supreme- Court-Lets-Stand-Decision-Respecting-US-Federal-Policy.html

2 Addendums 1 & 2, U.N. Position on Armenian Cass, (October 10, 2000), (April 2, 2007), (April 13, 2015). 3 ECHR Application No. 27510/08

4 CREW’s investigation is summarized at: http://www.citizensforethics.org/index.php/press/entry/complaint- against-armenian-national-committee-of-america-western-region/

1526 18th Street NW Suite 200
Washington DC 20036
Info@OurTASC.org

Honorable Joe Straus
Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
March 14, 2017
Page 3 of 3

For the foregoing reasons, we respectfully request that you not support HR 191 and that you take a firm stand against historical revisionism, prejudicial incriminations, and divisiveness in the State of Texas. Unite us. Don’t divide us. Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully Submitted,

The Turkish American National Steering Committee

 

Board of Directors

Gunay Evinch, Esq.
Co-Chairman

Derya Taskin                                              Murat Guzel
Secretary General                                      Treasurer

Oya Bain                                                     Dr. Halil Mutlu                                   Mustafa Tuncer
Executive Committee                               Executive Commitee                         Executive Committee

Dr. Ahmet Aydilek                                    Nevin Bakir                                         Hasan Guclu

Ergun Kirlikovali                                      Aydin Mamedov                                 Ebubekir  Tuncer

Behram Turan                                           Memis Yetim

Board of Advisors

Dr. Bulent Basol                                       Ibrahim Kurtulus                                 Ayhan Ogmen, Esq.

1526 18th Street NW Suite 200
Washington DC 20036
Info@OurTASC.org

 

 

ADDENDUM 1 UN STATEMENT 
Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 1.07.41 PM

STATEMENT

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 1.07.48 PM

U.N. Spokesperson Farhan Haq

New York, 9 April 2007 and 10 October 2000

As for Armenia, in any case, the UN has not expressed any position on incidents that took place long before the United Nations was established. 9 April 2007.

The UN has not approved or endorsed a report labeling the Armenian Experience as genocide. 19 October 2000.

Provided by the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) 1526 18th Suite 200 NW
Washington DC 20036
Info@OurTASC.org

ADDENDUM 2 U.N. STATEMENT

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 1.07.41 PM

STATEMENTScreen Shot 2017-03-27 at 1.09.48 PM

  U.N. Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric

New York, 13 April 2015

The Secretary General is mindful that, on 24 April of this year, Armenia and others around the world commemorate the centenary of the tragic events of 1915.

He’s also fully aware of the sensitivities related to the characterization of what happened in 1915, 100 years ago.

The Secretary General firmly believes that commemorating and remembering those tragic events of 1915 and continuing to cooperate with a view to establishing the facts about what happened should strengthen our collective determination to prevent similar atrocity crimes from ever happening in the future.

Provided by the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) 1526 18th Suite 200 NW
Washington DC 20036
Info@OurTASC.org

ADDENDUM 3 

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY HISTORIAN BERNARD LEWIS C-SPAN TRANSCRIPT

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 1.10.41 PM

THE VAST MAJORITY OF EXPERTS ON THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE DO NOT DEFINE THE ARMENIAN CASE AS GENOCIDE

Turkish Americans acknowledge the massacres of Ottoman Armenians, while they also remember the deaths and displacements of over 1.1 million Ottoman Muslims and Jews who perished in eastern Anatolia under the same conditions of war, Armenian revolts and Russian invasions.

Turkish Americans believe that the Armenian case does not constitute genocide. For this position, they rely on the findings of scholars who qualify as expert witnesses on Ottoman history, such as Bernard Lewis, David Fromkin, Guenther Lewy, Andrew Mango, Tal Buenos, Michael Gunter, Christopher Gunn, Avigdor Levy, Stanford Shaw, Masaki Kakiszaki, Norman Stone, Edward Erickson, Heath Lowry, and Justin McCarthy, to list just a few notables.

The following critical observation is by Princeton University Ottoman Historian, Professor Bernard Lewis, author of dozens of books on Turkey, Islam and the Middle East:

“[T]hat the massacre of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was the same as what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany is a downright falsehood. What happened to the Armenians was the result of a massive Armenian armed rebellion against the Turks, which began even before war broke out, and continued on a larger scale.

But to make this a parallel with the holocaust inGermany, you would have to assume the Jews of Germany had been engaged in an armed rebellion against the German state, collaborating with the allies

against Germany. That in the deportation order, the cities of Hamburg and Berlin were exempted, persons in the employment of the state were exempted, and the deportation only applied to the Jews of Germany proper, so that when they got to Poland they were welcomed and sheltered by the Polish Jews. This seems to me a rather absurd parallel”.

April 14, 2002, at the National Press Club on C-Span 2.

Provided by the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC) 1526 18th Suite 200 NW

Washington DC 20036

Info@OurTASC.org