No one in a democratic society would question the importance of the power of lobbying and ideas. The careful observer of foreign affairs must be aware of the fact that some Turkish-Americans could have a major impact on the multibillion-dollar political advertising industry and on international trade. On November 16, 2007, at Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington D.C., some of the top minds in lobbying and policy-making explored how the public and private sector can work together to create new ways of thinking in leadership to have common goals. The Turkish-Americans requested the Congress take a factual, firm stand on foreign policy issues concerning Turkey. Counting Azerbaijan friends, the Turkish-American Community is considered to be a small community (half a million). When asked a question about the coverage of Turkish-Americans in American TV stations, Gunay Evinch (Lawyer, Co-Chair of Armenian Research Committee) also agreed that Turkish-Americans would like to reach out to the Press and TV Channels. The Community faces a major challenge. When asked what could be done to have more Turkish-American reporters, journalists, lobbyists on American media, and TV stations (like C-SPAN, Fox TV, CNN, PBS, etc), Gunay Evinch agreed on this issue. He talked about a range of issues from the war in Iraq and terror to business and lobbying. During the Conference, lobbying was defined and described.
“A direct lobbying communication is one made to either a legislator, an employee of a legislative body, or any other government employee who may participate in the formulation of the legislation,” said Becky Ballard, a Law Fellow from Alliance For Justice. She added: “ Grassroots lobbying communication is an attempt to influence specific legislation by encouraging the public to contact legislators about the legislation.” Nurten Ural stated that the “Assembly of American Turkish Associations (ATAA) has been working continuously to ensure that the voice of Turkish-Americans is heard. That’s why, more coverage by Turkish reporters and journalists on American TV stations is needed so that the interests of this community are addressed fair and accurately. . . a fair and accurate portrayal of Turks, Turkish-Americans, Turkey and related issues are essential in this era of conflicts.”
Gunay Evinch stated “the question of what happened in 1915 is a historical determination.” He said, “During the Armenian Revolt Movement 1880-1920, Armenian rebels killed 250,000 Ottoman civilians. There were Armenian Terror Cells (from the Tashnak Archives). In March 1915, in the Van Revolt, over 60,000 Muslims and Jews died. During this period, Armenians were relocated as a political group, not as a racial, ethnic or a religious group. The Armenian Relocation did not include the specific intent to kill Armenians.” He said, “Armenian Resolutions violate principles of American fairness and justice. He added “As a result of PKK Kurdish Nationalist Terror, more than 35,000 civilians have been killed since 1984. They are based in Kurdish Iraq. They are supported by human trafficking, women trafficking, drug and cigarette smuggling, and by some ‘cultural’ and ‘human rights’ associations in Europe and in the U.S.” He pointed out that PKK demanded municipal money for terrorism and killed a guard in Diyarbakir in Turkey. There has been no apartheid, segregation or statute-based discrimination of Kurds. Three of Eight Turkish Presidents were of Kurdish origin. The Kurdish language is freely spoken. Kurdish language papers are published. They have Kurdish language radio and TV stations. Turkish State TV has a Kurdish channel. But, as with all public activities, there are health and safety regulations. Mitterrand said, “[people say] ‘it is violation of cultural rights’, it is not true! Kurdish people are represented in all aspects of Turkish government, business, and society. They are enjoying the same rights with the other Turkish people. But, terror is unacceptable. Imagine the scale of terror if Canada is Iran, Mexico is Iraq, and Cuba is Syria!”
G. Evinch said, “North Cyprus is not a Greek island. Cyprus has been a multi-ethnic island for years. It’s historical definition is as the following: Venetian in 1483, Ottoman in 1571, and the Cyprus Republic in 1960. (1963-1974 had very difficult ethnic cleansing). Turks Peace Operation in 1974. Northern Cyprus Republic(1983); UN Annan Plan and Referendum (2003); and Easement of Isolation and/or Recognition in 2008. Cyprus is the southern gate to the Mediterranean. 40 miles to Anamur (on the Mediterranean Coast of Southern Turkey) 700 miles to Greece. Cyprus has 500 years of Turkish heritage.”
Evinch speculated on “Earth 2060” and said, “China could be a super power in 2060, Turkey is the key country. It is very important for U.S. interests in the next decades. Turkish-Americans are the key heritage community.”
Heyecan Veziroglu is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.