By Harut Sassounian,
By Harut Sassounian,
U.S. state Rep. Joe Towns is accused of receiving bribes from the Azerbaijani side for promoting resolution supporting Azerbaijan, reports the American Channel 5.
As the TV channel notes, an oil-rich, predominantly Muslim country — where Eastern Europe meets western Asia — Azerbaijan has been involved in a decades-old dispute with the predominantly Christian country of Armenia over territory that both countries claim.
Towns said he agreed to introduce the resolution because Azerbaijan is a U.S. ally. In the same time he assures that he knew nothing about the conflict between these two countries.
Armenian immigrant Barry Barsoumian said the Azerbaijani are trying to change history by going around different states in the United States passing resolutions. Barsoumian discovered Towns’ resolution and could not believe anyone would ask a Tennessee lawmaker to help a country known for its human rights abuses and whose leader is seen as one of the world’s most corrupt. “I asked him (Towns-edt.) if it was Azerbaijani Embassy. He denied it,” Barsoumian recalled.
News Channel 5 Investigates looked at Towns’ campaign reports and discovered he introduced the resolution just two weeks after he got a total of $10,000 in campaign contributions from people out of Texas with ties to the Azerbaijani community.
The TV Channel found out that in Texas, Houston, a Turkish-Azerbaijani cultural center operated which connects people who had made donations for Towns’ campaign. Congressman himself denies that these people asked him to promote a pro-Azerbaijani legislative initiative.
According to the journalists of the TV Channel it is suspicious that people who live in an apartment in one of Houston’s roughest neighborhoods donated money. Towns couldn’t give answer to this question either.
“When Towns’ resolution came up in committee, members of the Armenian community had already lobbied other lawmakers to kill the bill. The resolution never even got a vote — a strange end to what some consider a strange piece of legislation,” the article reads.
Some of the contributors appear to have connections to groups who’ve taken Tennessee officials on free trips to Turkey and Azerbaijan. Towns was supposed to go on one of those trips last year, but he wasn’t able to go.
“Still, he did sponsor another House resolution that essentially accused Armenia of war crimes. That resolution actually passed the House on a 93-0 vote. So why would Azerbaijan care about what the Tennessee House thinks about world affairs? It appears to be part of an orchestrated PR campaign to show that world opinion is on their side,” the TV channel sums up.