Los Angeles, CA – On Monday, December 6, 2010, a delegation representing the three traditional Armenian political parties met with acting Lebanese Consul General Mrs. Madonna Aoun Ghazal. The delegation composed of Mr. Gabriel Moloyan (S.D.H.P.), Mr. Hagop Nazirian (A.D.L.) and Mr. Varuzhan Urfalian (ARF) expressed their concern towards the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent visit to Lebanon and the increasing political and diplomatic overtures by the Republic of Turkey toward the Arab countries in general and toward Lebanon in particular. The delegation articulated the Armenian community’s reservations regarding the sincerity of Turkish reciprocity to Lebanon’s friendly policies.
The delegation presented the Consul General with a written letter of concern to forward to the Lebanese Foreign Ministry.
The following is the full text of the letter:
November 29, 2010
Mrs. Madonna Aoun Ghazal
Acting Consul General
Consulate General of Lebanon
660 S Figueroa St., Suite 1050
Los Angeles, CA 90017
ATTENTION: FORWARDING TO FOREIGN MINSTER
Dear Mrs. Ghazal:
We hereby express our deep concern regarding the true intentions behind the increasing political and diplomatic overtures by the Republic of Turkey toward the Arab countries in general and toward Lebanon in particular. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Lebanon last week is an alarming reminder of the self-centered objectives that the Republic of Turkey is pursuing in the Middle Eastern region.
The Armenian American community in Western United States is profoundly disturbed by the Turkish undertakings in Lebanon and by the lavish accolades that the Lebanese authorities are bestowing upon the Republic of Turkey and its leaders. We acknowledge, welcome and support Lebanon’s good neighborly policies toward all countries, including Turkey. However, we also maintain reasonable reservations regarding the sincerity of Turkish reciprocity to Lebanon’s friendly policies.
The Republic of Turkey is the sole heir to the Ottoman Empire that has left a ruthless past in Lebanese history. The genocidal scars of this past are still remembered and felt by the Lebanese people. The Martyr’s Monument at the center of Beirut stands as a testimonial to the atrocities that the Ottoman Turks inflicted upon the Muslims and Christians of Lebanon during the First World War. We stand firm with the Armenian Lebanese community’s stance that Turkey and its leadership must come to grips with this past and acknowledge the genocidal acts that their ancestors implemented against the Lebanese people.
During his recent visit to Lebanon, Mr. Erdogan had the best opportunity to set the record straight. Unfortunately, he did not. He had the best opportunity to honor the victims of Ottoman massacres by visiting the Martyr’s Monument in Beirut. Unfortunately, he did not. These acts of denial reveal a lot about the Turkish sincerity toward Lebanon and the Lebanese people.
The Republic of Turkey is attempting to assume itself as the defender of the Arab world and the champion of the Palestinian Cause. This assumption, so far, has only been manifested in words and not in deeds. The Turkish government is relying on media manipulation, organized propaganda and some minor side-shows to convince that it has the interests of the Arab people at heart and that it is the new protector of the Palestinian people. Turkish verbal grandstanding in the Arab world cannot conceal the fact that the government of Mr. Erdogan entertains the fixed intention of expanding the military, political, economic and cultural influence of the Republic of Turkey over the countries that were once part of the Ottoman Empire. Sooner or later, this Turkish expansionist policy will come into collision with the policies pursued in the region by other major powers. More than Turkey, the Arab world and Lebanon will bear the harm resulting from such a collision.
We hope Lebanon will avoid the pitfalls of Turkey’s overtures done under the guise of good intentions and friendly relations. Armenian Americans expect that the Lebanese government conduct its policies with Turkey based on the traditional Lebanese wisdom and caution.
We respectfully request that our foregoing concerns are conveyed to and impressed upon the President of the Republic, the President of the Parliament and the Prime Minister of the Lebanese government.
Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, Western USA
Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Western USA
Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Western USA