In late June 2023, Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles, Sinan Kuzum, disseminated a letter to California lawmakers in an attempt to highlight “positive developments in the Turkish and Armenian relationship,” referring to the ongoing negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, and the participation of Armenia’s Prime Minister in the inauguration of Turkey’s President. In his inflammatory letter, Kuzum accused the Armenian Diaspora in Los Angeles of attempting to hamper the goodwill and spirit of peaceful negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, urging lawmakers to be mindful of the ongoing negotiations before they speak on matters concerning Armenian-Turkish relations.
The Turkish Consul General’s letter is just the latest example of the Turkish government’s efforts to silence the Armenian diaspora’s voice and effectiveness in advocating for a just US foreign policy in the region. Furthermore, the consul general’s letter is indicative of a larger problem that should be of grave concern to Americans and policymakers alike–a foreign principal actively engaged in efforts to bend local, state, and federal policymakers to the will of a foreign country, in direct conflict with their constituents’ interests and needs.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region responded to the Turkish Consul General’s letter, condemning their deception and distortion of facts. The Turkish government has a long history of denying the Armenian Genocide and, more recently, supplied Azerbaijan with weaponry and personnel during the 2020 Artsakh War.
“The Turkish Consul General’s letter is a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from the Turkish government’s own obstructionism on the path to normalization of relations,” said ANCA – Western Region Board Chair Nora Hovsepian Esq. “Whitewashing its history of genocide and human rights violations is nothing new for Turkey. We will continue to hold the Turkish government accountable until it fulfills its historical obligations to the Armenian people. The Armenian diaspora will not be silenced, and we will continue to fight for justice for the Armenian Genocide and the crimes Turkey has been actively committing against Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora as a whole. We trust that our elected officials will continue to prioritize the concerns of their own Armenian-American constituents over the shameless lobbying of a foreign government trying to dismiss those legitimate concerns.”
The Armenian National Committee of America Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.