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Obama Fails to Recognize Armenian Genocide Citing Progress Between Armenia and Turkey

April 30th, 2009 by hyeoctane

By Daren Djirikian

In the weeks and months leading up to president Barack Obama’s proposed acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide as such, Armenians around the world were hoping he would use his prior statements calling it a genocide that would once and for all state that the Ottoman Empire was responsible for the deaths of at least 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1918. Obama’s record on the subject was consistent between the time he was a senator and on his presidential campaign. He even wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice while he was a senator saying that America must speak the truth and call what happened starting 94 years ago in modern day Turkey a genocide. However, there were warning sings in the month of April that Obama might back of his previous forceful and lucid statements.

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US Embassy Fails to Link PKK to Armenia

February 28th, 2008 by hyeoctane

In September of 2007, Dr. Mark Yoffe, a Slavic Languages specialist at George Washington University (GWU), arrived in Armenia with an IREX fellowship to do research on the Yezidi Kurdish community there. His assumption was that his fieldwork would focus on Yezidi culture and folklore but, after visiting the US Embassy in Yerevan and being taken aside by the Political Affairs Officer there, he was told that what they really wanted him to look at was Yezidi political activism and any traces of PKK activity among Kurds living in Armenia.

After spending a month in Armenia doing what the Embassy asked him to, Yoffe returned to the US and, on February 19, gave a presentation of his findings to an audience of about fifty at The Gelman Library of GWU. The title of his talk was “Yezidis, Kurds and the PKK in Armenia: Notes of an Accidental Undercover Operative.”

Not only did Yoffe reveal that the PKK has no significant presence in Armenia but that, in his words, “there is not even any anecdotal evidence” of PKK activity in the country. When Yoffe went back to the Embassy with this information, the officials there were not the least bit interested in his findings. Obviously, some in the State Department and US Foreign Service have nothing better to do than try to concoct negative stories about Armenia out of thin air.

The timing of all this should also not be overlooked—it was at the same time that the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res. 106) was advancing its way in the US House and eventually passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October.

Interestingly enough, since he quickly found that there was absolutely no basis for saying the PKK exists in Armenia, Yoffe spent the rest of his presentation emphatically describing how Armenia is the most hospitable place for Kurds in the entire region. He repeats the same points in his report with such passages as, “Both groups, Yezidi and Kurds, stated on numerous occasions that they are happy and comfortable in Armenia, that it is the best country for people of Yezidi faith where they are not persecuted.”

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