Letter to The Chicago Tribune, April 15, 1998

April 15, 1998

Via Fax: 312-222-2598

To the Editor of The Chicago Tribune:

The Tribuneís April 13th article, "One Nation, Many Voices", overestimates the influence of the Greek and Armenian lobbies while markedly understating the influence of the Turkish one, erroneously claiming that "[t]here is virtually no Turkish . . . lobby to match the Greeks or Armenians."

The fact is that Turkey has engaged in one of the most ambitious and expensive lobbying efforts that our nation has seen by a foreign country. The Turkish government lavishes millions of dollars on top-notch public relations firms such as Hill & Knowlton and Satchi & Satchi to prettify an image tarnished with one of the worst human rights records on earth.

Articles in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and even The Turkish Daily News1 have revealed that the Turkish Government has been making genocide denial a primary foreign policy objective, spending millions of dollars in pursuit of a false and dangerous historical revisionism through the outright purchase of scholars and university chairs within our nationís most prestigious universities.

As stated by Stanley Cohen, Professor of Criminology at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem:

The nearest successful example [of "collective denial"] in the modern era is the 80 years of official denial by successive Turkish governments of the 1915-17 genocide against the Armenians in which some 1.5 million people lost their lives. This denial has been sustained by deliberate propaganda, lying and coverups, forging documents, suppression of archives, and bribing scholars. The West, especially the United States, has colluded by not referring to the massacres in the United Nations, ignoring memorial ceremonies, and surrendering to Turkish pressure in NATO and other strategic arenas of cooperation.2

While the European press has condemned the Turkish Government for torturing its dissidents, ethnically cleansing its non-Turkish minorities, and threatening its neighbors with invasion, our nationís media seems to have gone out of its way to avoid any comparable criticism. Rather than heap ethnic contempt upon Greek and Armenian-Americans, these groups should be applauded for speaking up on human rights and international legal issues where others have remained silent.

Very truly yours,

P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.

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