WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has called on Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to retract a controversial statement praising Turkeyis historic treatment of minorities, made during a July 14th CNN Turkey interview with journalist Nuri Colakoglu.
Wolfowitz, commenting on democracy in Turkey, stated:
“I think a real test of whether a country is a democracy is how it treats its minorities. And actually it’s one of the things that impress me about Turkish history – the way Turkey treats its own minorities.”
In a July 19th letter sent to Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian voiced “grave disappointment” about the remark, noting that it “entirely ignores the Armenian Genocide, the World War I era genocidal massacres and deportations of Greeks and Assyrians, the invasion and occupation of Cyprus, the ongoing campaign against Turkey’s Kurdish population, and the unfair and burdensome restrictions on the remaining Armenian, Greek, and other Christian communities.”
Hamparian went on to stress that, “Our government’s relationship with Turkey should not be based upon a version of history falsified for the sake of political expediency by Turkey’s undemocratic and human right-abusing government. We must have the wisdom and courage to speak the truth and to always promote American values as we advance our national interests around the world.”
In response to hundreds of e-mails received from Armenian Americans across the country, the ANCA has set up a free WebFax system on its website, giving community members an opportunity to voice their concerns on this matter to Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz.