Turkey and Armenia: Friendship of Convenience?06.04.2012 | 12:20
Consulate General of Turkey in Los Angeles is carrying out a campaign for "the establishment of friendship bridges" with the Armenian American community. The most prominent representatives of the Armenian Diaspora of the USA live in California. The opinion of the Armenian Americans is crucial for the others Armenian diasporas around the world. What are the Turks trying to achive and how sincere and friendly their feelings towards the American Armenians are? GTimes decided to talk about it with the expert Ruben Safrastyan.
Professor Ruben Safrastyan, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia:
Actions of the Turkish Consulate General in the United States in relation to the Armenian community in America should be considered as another attempt to mend relations. This is not the first attempt. Similar actions have been taken several times. The core of such active aspirations of the Turkish side is quite understandable motivation. Friendship is not the true goal. The real goal is Turkey' impact on Armenian Americans. Ankara wants them to accept the Turkish views on the Armenian Genocide. To this end, Turkey wants to mislead the Armenian American community and make the Armenians of the world give up their struggle for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
I can suppose what the Turks are going to do for it. They will try their best to persuade the Armenian American community that Turkey is not the enemy for them, that Turkey is very interested in establishing friendly relations. They will try to convince the American Armenians that the Ottoman Turkey was a second home for the Armenians, that the Armenians and Turks lived peacefully and amicably for centuries. But all this does not correspond to historical reality. If the Turks are trying to improve relations with the American Armenians, as well as the others Armenian Diasporas of the world, this way, I am more than confident that this attempt is doomed to failure.
I should note another circumstance. It is no accident that the actions of the Turkish diplomats were started in April. April 24, the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, is closer. This day, the president of the United States traditionally appeals to the Armenian American community. The Turks are doing everything possible to exclude the word "genocide" from the speech of Barack Obama. It is very important for Turkey. Just a few days ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained: April 24 is approaching again, and we must do something with the Armenians again. Erdogan now need one thing: to make the president of the United States not to use the phrase "Armenian genocide" in his speech. If that happens, it will become a major political victory for Turkey.