On May 8, Bruce Fein posted an article titled “Recommendations for the Armenian Diaspora” on the Huffington Post. Fein is concerned that unless the Armenian Diaspora heeds his “recommendations,” it will torpedo the ongoing talks between Turkey and Armenia.
To set the record straight, it should be noted that according to his biographic information, Fein, a lawyer, is the resident scholar for the Turkish Coalition of America. Prior to this position, he was also resident scholar at the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and a columnist for the Turkish Times. He has served as a consultant to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and has appeared regularly on Voice of America and Turkish television to discuss current political events and their implications for Turkish-American relations.
Therefore, it is irrefutable that he his acting as the spokesperson of the Turkish side. It would indeed be most appropriate to call this endeavor “Fein’s Turkish adventure.”
His so-called “recommendations” simply constitute unsubstantiated accusations and defamatory remarks against the Armenian Diaspora. As such, he deserves a response, which I posted on Huffington Post along the following lines:
Bruce Fein, the mouthpiece of the Republic of Turkey, has spoken again. This time, he has the audacity of making “recommendations” to Armenia and U.S. citizens of Armenian extraction without making any reference to his continued gainful employment by the government of Turkey and by a garden variety of Turkish “associations.”
Fein is out to “get” the Armenian Diaspora in general, and the U.S. Armenian Americans in particular. The reason for his attempt is obvious: Silence the diaspora and especially the Armenian American community, and the Turkish genocide of the Armenian people and usurpation of the Armenian homeland shall wither away. This seems to not be an easy task for Fein. Yet, he seems to be an adamant fellow. He desperately needs to tame the diaspora and the Armenian Americans.
To this end, he resorts to tactics of baseless accusations, falsehood, misrepresentation, and even bombastic threats.
First, Fein threatens that the “boisterous” diaspora will cause the eventual failure of Turkey’s efforts to normalize relations with Armenia. According to Fein, Turkey, at the cost of damaging its strategic interests, is doing Armenia a favor by opening its borders, which would save Armenia economically. Should the diaspora resume its untamed conduct, the borders will remain sealed and Armenia will be the loser.
Fein, of course, unabashedly overlooks the geopolitical fact that Turkey is the one that is in dire need of Armenia in order to have access to the southern Caucasus and beyond. This is the old Pan-Turanic strategic thinking once employed by the Ottoman Young Turks that led to the extermination of the Armenians. Now, this strategic thinking is being employed by the current government of Turkey under the guidance of Ahmet Davutoglu, the former foreign policy adviser and current foreign minister of Turkey.
Next, Fein lodges false accusations against the Armenian Diaspora, claiming that it has turned the genocide recognition into a campaign of hate against Turkey and Turks. This gentleman in the service of Turkish “associations” should familiarize himself with Armenian traditions and culture that inspire and teach the Armenian individual—whether in Armenia or the diaspora—love, friendship, brotherhood, and peace. Not a single Armenian person sees an enemy in a Turkish person. As for genocide recognition, it is only anchored on one principle, objective, and feeling: Justice. When in 1944, jurist Raphael Lemkin, in an effort to bring justice for the Jewish Holocaust by the Nazis, coined the word “genocide” based on the precedent of the Armenian massacres, he was not motivated by hate against the Germans. Lemkin sought justice and defined the annihilation of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans and of European Jews at the hands of Nazis as genocide.
Third, Fein develops an artistic penchant to spread falsehood. He blatantly claims that the Armenian Diaspora intimidates and harasses the academia, and vilifies those scholars who do not agree with the fact of genocide. What’s worse, he claims that the Armenian Diaspora engages in the “buy-out” of scholars to corroborate the fact of the genocide. These claims against the Armenian Diaspora are immersed in utter falsehood. Interestingly, the same claims verily apply to the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish “associations” operating in the U.S., who have become experts in the business and have notoriously earned the reputation of regularly harassing academia, vilifying scholars, and “buying out” professors and department chairs to distort history and deny the Armenian Genocide.
Fourth, Fein comes forth with the misrepresentation that Armenian Diaspora groups are engaged in foul play in violation of U.S. laws and regulations. His lone substantiation in this respect is his claim that the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Now, Fein is a lawyer. As a lawyer, he should be able to differentiate an investigation from indictment. The deliberate lack of knowledge is the source of his misrepresentation. He is well advised to check the status of this investigation.
Fein’s so-called “recommendations” boil down to a single directive to the Armenian Diaspora. He is effectively telling the Armenians to stop exercising their rights as citizens of their respective countries. This directive is more alarming in the case of Armenian Americans. He is telling American citizens of Armenian descent to halt exercising their rights under the U.S. Constitution.
Fein should learn to accept that Armenian Americans are doing what Indian Americans, Jewish Americans, and other Americans are doing—nothing more, nothing less.