On Monday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan addressed the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, where he lied throughout his presentation about Turkey’s economic progress, regional role as a so-called power player and made never-before-heard allegations regarding the Armenia-Turkey protocols process all in an attempt to paint a favorable picture of his country to the more than 150 in attendance, Asbarez reports.
In response to a question from the audience posed by Armenian National Committee of American Advisory Board member Levon Kirakossian, Babacan characterized the Armenia-Turkey Protocols process as one that from the onset was a three-pronged approach that involved the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. The actual document of the Protocols and all statements made during that time indicated that the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia would have no preconditions.
He explained to the audience that secret talks between Armenia and Turkey began in 2007 and were mediated by Switzerland, expressing that the two countries expressly agreed to the establishment of a commission that would “review the events of 1915.”
Babacan explained that in the absence of an agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which would have resulted in a regional normalization agreement, the process had stalled.
Babacan went on to say that there were tragic events that took place in 1915 during World War I, but the government of Turkey does not possess any proof to deem those events Genocide.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region wrote to the Turkish Consulate General asking to meet with Babacan while he was in Los Angeles. At press time, the ANCA-WR had not received a response.
Similarly, the ANCA-WR wrote to the leadership of the LAWAC urging the organization to cancel the event, arguing that “the Council would certainly not invite any of the following officials nor their representatives to speak: Jean Kambanda of Rwanda, Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Pol Pot of Cambodia, or Heinrich Himmler of Nazi Germany; Mr. Babacan is a representative of such a genocidal regime.”
Throughout his remarks, Babacan emphasized the continued inroads Turkey has made in advancing democratic principles, attributing the country’s economic growth to Turkey adherence to those norms and ignoring continued international criticism of its treatment of journalists, minorities and dissidents.
While commenting that the Los Angeles World Affairs Council is a forum for open discussion, its president Terry McCarthy praised Turkey’s so-called economic growth and highlighted the decision to hire Kobe Bryant to be the face of Turkish Airlines.