Sassounian: Turkey Seeks to Monopolize Investments in American Indian Tribal Lands

In a few weeks, when high-priced Turkish lobbying firms file their mandatory reports with the Justice Department, important revelations will emerge about their behind-the-scenes role in pushing through Congress a bill that would give Turkish companies a monopoly for investments in American Indian tribal lands.

These reports would disclose the chain of contacts leading to the approval of Resolution 2362, the “Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011,” by the House Committee on Natural Resources by a vote of 27 to 15, on Nov. 17.

One should not be surprised to learn that this innocent-sounding resolution, meant to “facilitate economic development by Indian tribes and encourage investment by Turkish enterprises,” glided through Congress helped by the lavish flow of funds—the mother’s milk of politics—to some House members.

Of course, there is nothing wrong in helping Native Americans to attract foreign investments, except that Congress was being asked to give preferential treatment to a single country: Turkey! Strangely, the majority of the Committee members were willing to go along with this unusual and illegal request, ignoring strong warnings from the Congressional Research Service that extending special privileges to only one country would violate provisions of major U.S. trade agreements—Most Favored Nation (MFN), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and World Trade Organization (WTO).

Moreover, there was no need whatsoever for Congress to approve a pilot program for any one country, when the same Committee was simultaneously considering a more inclusive bill—House Resolution 205—that would provide to all countries an equal opportunity to trade with and invest in Indian tribal lands. In fact, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs testified that he had serious reservations about Resolution 2362. That is why he preferred to support Resolution 205, which would “foster the same goals…on a broader scale.” When Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) tried to introduce an amendment to expand the scope of Resolution 2362 beyond Turkey, it was ruled out of order due to a technicality.

Before the vote, several Armenian American and Greek American organizations submitted letters in opposition to Resolution 2362 to the House Committee, pointing out the impropriety and illegality of giving Turkey monopolistic access to Indian tribal lands. These organizations raised five key objections to Congress extending special privileges to Turkey because that country:

1) Remains an unrepentant perpetrator of genocide against millions of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians.

2) Continues to blockade Armenia, occupy Cyprus, confront Israel, attack Kurds, and undermine U.S. regional interests.

3) Threatens U.S. commercial interests in the Mediterranean region.

4) Is linked to American-Turkish entities suspected of involvement in illegal activities.

5) Supports Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The possible aim of the proponents of Resolution 2362 is to pass this particular bill before the more inclusive Resolution 205 is approved, in order to give Turkey a head start and undeserved advantage over all other nations. Turkey could then strike exclusive trade deals with Indian tribes for up to 25 years, renewable for two additional terms of 25 years each, for a total of 75 years. This means that by the time companies from other countries have a chance to sign contracts with Indian tribes, Turkish firms will have snatched up the most lucrative deals, leaving the others empty-handed.

Immediately after the Committee’s adoption of Resolution 2362, Turkish Americans and the Turkish Embassy in Washington rushed to celebrate a premature victory. The Turkish Coalition of America issued a press release on Nov. 17 expressing its joy that the Resolution was approved by the Committee, and would soon be adopted by the full House. That same night, the Turkish Embassy hosted a reception in Washington “to mark American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month and celebrate the successful passage of H.R.2362 out of the House Natural Resources Committee.” Turkey’s illustrious Ambassador Namik Tan was personally tweeting pictures of American Indians in their native costumes as the festivities took place at the embassy.

The ambassador should be reminded that a victory celebration is premature because there are no guarantees that this defective bill will ever reach the House floor, let alone the Senate, since it grossly violates a number of U.S. trade agreements. Even if the bill receives Congressional approval, American civic organizations and many countries will file lawsuits to block this discriminatory piece of legislation.

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. Well well well.. yet another example of how Turkey shuts up US with money.. then money they stole by murdering a nation and lie about it almost 100 years.. and US continues to kiss TUrkey’s hand by allowing such illegal matters to take place.. I am embarrassed for my host country.. Shame on US…

    THat is all I can say… 

  2.   Core activism at its best. Monitoring, researching and taking action against the fundamental power base of influence…economics. Thank for bringing this to our attention.

  3. Another very important point > Last year, Erdogan passed a law in Turkey that discriminates  – by forbidding the sale of land or property in Turkey to Greeks and Jews.

    This is blatant discrimination. Anti semitism. An insult to Greeks who were victims of the Turk genocide in Thrace, Pontus, Marmara, Anatolia and Smyrna….robbed also, of all their possessions and land, as the Armenians………

    The same conduct in Cyprus – where, to this day, since 1974, Cypriot mothers and wives are still waiting for accountability for the 1,619 Greek Cypriot POWS, who “disappeared” while in Turkish military custody, with no accountability to date for their murder – in crass violation of the Geneva Convention. Erdogan has further ILLEGALLY transplanted over 300.000 Anatolian Turks to fraudulently alter the Turk population of Cyprus, has looted and stolen vast land, properties, defaced and desecrated their historic churches…….
    and is now DEMANDING EQUAL SHARE of Sovereign Cypriot minerals and resources – (50%) – for the documented actual Turk Cypriot population which was never higher than 18%………..

    If America awards this slimy thief ANY such deal – it would be granting exclusive privileges to a country (Turkey) that DISCRIMINATES against Greeks and Jews

    and would be violating the very core of democracy. No Turk should even have the right to own property in the USA – if it discriminates against ethnicities in it’s own country.

  4. Rebbeca,
    It sure would be nice if you had even a CLUE as to what you’re talking about!! The last I checked, in Istanbul alone, most of the PRIME real estate is owned by ARMENIANS and/or GREEKS!! Many major businesses are owned and operated by Turkish Jews! There are Greek and Armenian orthodox churches, as well as synagogs! How many Mosques are there in Greece and Armenia Rebecca? How many businesses are owned by Turks in Greece and Armenia Rebbeca? Come back when you get a clue!

  5. Rebbeca,
    You mention Cyprus. Tell us please, how many years did the Greek-Cypriots treat the Turkish-Cypriots and their community as second class citizens (from the 1950’s until the liberation of 1974), attacking them, killing them, denying enough water and food sources to them, assaulting, raping, murdering them? Rebbeca, can you say the “AKRITAS PLAN”? Can you say “MAKARIOS”? Can you say “GRIVAS”? Can you say “NICOS SAMPSON”? Can you say “EOKA-A”? How about “EOKA-B”? Can you say “ENOSIS AT ALL COSTS”? Come back when you know what you’re talking about!!

  6. Harut Sassounian is well known to many,as a political commentator that pinpoints especially great Turkey´s sneaky and stealthily planned approaches to such juicy and lucrative  objectives  that  would benefit her. He has the ability  and will to cope with any such attempts especially  towards  Armenian issues,bring them to light and strip them.
    Bravo indeed.
    Question arises  then who ,other  than the ANC  and Armenian  Assembly ,will take the necessary measures/steps to thwart their these  like efforts,which if not stopped will make great Turkey  really GREAT. Fact  of the matter  is-whether we  like  it  or not-their economy ,thanks ,no not  only what some Armenians attribute  only to riches  confiscated  from legal owner Armenians ,but their thrust with their goods  into marketsthat were previously supplied  with other countries  and/or  locally.they are  registering growth. In light  of  this,is it not time  Mr. Sassounian  that  you would -if  you wished  and decided-to give a try to what  I a have been advocating for  yeasrs now. Namely Re-organization  of our Diaspora(s) around PCA´s ¨Professional Colleagues  associations¨, five  on the scen already (ten more to come) thus untapping  the Huge collectivities  of  the aforemenioned, i dare sary a 100,000  strong with an objective  of cooperation  heretofore unknown amongst  these , the Inter professional Colleagues Associations,the ask the political parties  to join in  for establishing The ¨National  Investment Trust  Fund ¨- Nucleus  of which by our 6/7  magnates, investing a total of one billion dollars amongst these,then the millionaires  to chip in ,all the way down to hundred thousand to thousand and 100 dollar investors.Readers  here pleasse go calculate  how  big an iNVESTMENT FUND  THAT  WILL BE  ,ESPECIALLY IF THROUGH MONETARY EXPERTS  OF THE MAGNATES AND INT´L ATTORNEYS,RE INVESTED  IN OTHER secure   Govt  Funds. For  in light  of the main adversary  of the Armenian Nation we  will have sprung up with  our own ECONOMIC  POWER OF THE DIASPORA .Something  that would help us organize  properly A  REPATRIATION  to begin with and then Loans to those who wish to repatriate   and later a s   permanent  National Invest  Fund to Loan to Armenians (indeed against  mortages through banks) for 10 /15 year periods at a low interest. This would be  our REAL TRIUMPH AGAINST  THE creeping Adversaies´advancdes towards  our Tiny Armenia.for yesterday yes  only yesterday they had already CREPT  INTO YEREVAN-THOUGH A SMALL bizNESS DELEGATION WITH WHOM THEIR COUNTERPART  OF aRMENIAN bizNESS MEN KISSED UPON DEPARTURE FROM ARMENIA AND  AS YET ANOTHER  SHOW,THEY HAD VISITED our  monument  to the martyrs  of tzitzernakazpert…
    I am not surprized  at all.I wrote a few years ago(like you soemtimes like to say, NOW AND THEN)that they would COME KNEEL DOWN  THERE AND APOLAGIZE.But  please   N O  T  A  L  K     O  F      COMPENSATION/RESTITUTION!!!  A COUPLE  SAMPLE cases such (anyhow  not many left to repair) as Akhtamar,St. Giragos  O.K  but  no more…
    Do please opine  on my repeated call for  re-organization and National Invest  FUND.
    Thanks for reading me  

  7. Dear Gayztag

    How about if Turkey creates a national trust fund against your national trust fund? A new law has passed in Turkey, according to this law, half a millions of people will be exempt from the military service if they pay some $17000. A research shows that most people who are entitle to get exemption  are willing to pay this $17000. which means Turkey is expecting to receive $5 billions to $6.5 billions. If you need any loan I am sure they will provide for your national trust fund 

  8. Folks ,You know why I end up making errors around mid way to end of my posts???
    simple,I get to ask  mysself ¨Will there be a reply to my post/Project?
    Indeed, so far  not a single one? and you know  why?
    I shall restrain myself to mention two of our worst  traits.for it is shamefull.But sum up like this:-
    The armenian mindset  is not yet ready for   C O    O P E R A T I O N . eACH PERSON OR A GROUP  have to come forthe    s  e  p  e  r  a  t  e  l  y    anmd advocate their own!!!
    One  in PaRIS ANOTHER ION mOSCOW, ANOTHER  IN Los Angeles and who knpow s  soon may be  in Alaska .S.Africa  U.K. and the cities   such as. …..
    We simply  have  to join in the Colleagues association.THAT  IS WHERE  

  9. Please forgive me above making  that  many errors.I shall write slower and evade errors.
    My ¨Projections on a New Statute for the Armenian Diaspora¨ automatically takes care  of the Power8so to say) distribution.Rather meticulously thought  of same.
    The Supreme council  that  it aims to reach to,will be  in Five Departments.-
    1.Legal political(comprised  of our political parties reps,plus a few non -partisan and international attorneys) in Strasbourg,France,where the Euro Parliament  is.Not sitting with RA delegation but in same town(always in contact with aforementioend intheir premises  which the national Investment Trust  Fund will provide,more to latter ,ahead.
    2.The Executive  Dept. in NY, as above(and in constant contact with other three Dept.s
    3.The Economic Supreme council in Geneva,CH with 15  offices  of the PCA´s professional Colleagues associations.Also next to premises  Headquarters  of the nat´l Invest. Trust  Fund:Indeed first funding towards an organzied REPATRIATION!!!as loans
    4.The Social Services and Repatriation organizing(from near  aborad,Russian Fed.for  the thick majority of emigrants there,awaiting  such Fund to LOAN them to Repatriate ,start  work in Homeland and Artsakhj/Javakhq.
    5.The Spiritual Supreme  Council(only one  we  have ,but to be reorganized to have permanent Great House  of Cilicia  within  Council.
    AS to those  who are already on the Armenian Diaspora ,especially political and Media and/or Economic  scene,they are automaticall ,but democratically re elected/a`ppointed to important posts/positions, such as  an example:- Mr. Ara Abrahamian of Moscow will indeed be there as  he is a very apt perosn with networking  capacity and so will  Mr. hovnmanian as the most advanced Cosntruction field perosn and/or  his also other proprieties etc., etc., etc., oh neafr forgot(please  forgive me ) persons such a s Harut Sassoiunian with his perfect capacity  as  to be  Media head,political commentator, will be in that position  in Strasbourg, as Diaspora  spokesperson officially.So on so forth .rest can be accomplished  ,I am sure  by many participating  in the Project to overhaul the over 160 year old Sahmanatrutyun with  the NEW STATUTE. much more compatible  with a Dynamic Diaspora with the Young  Taking over…
    Please  don´t  silent and opine give  your viewpoints-negatively as well-for Silence  bodes   one  of our bad tgrasits let´s get rid  of that  AND CO  OPERATE!!!
    Hama Haigagani SIRO  

  10. John Turk,
    I´m sure it will work out perfectly,less military expenditure8anyhow whom to fight agaisnt  the RRRRRusians) when that menace was on,viz.soviet union, your country very cunningly kept neutral position-however  lending  to U.S. bases  against cash.Now pretty much same way getting OIL  transit duties  around I understand 1.6 billion dollars(easy money again).
    In this your diplomats are the best, no doubt. They will change positions to extort8shall we say) monies.Indeed, part  is for the (K.Backs) none  the less good idea.Do it.
    However, my Project  is one  that  will be governed  not by Statesmen,but Magnates, who neither need  our medium small invesments  nor  our advice.They have  and will have more monetary experts and attorneys  to suggest  to them what to do,so as  K.backs will be evaded(not a Govt. fund, mind  you…)
    Mr. John Turk,believe  you me ,you  ain´t seen nothing yet  what the Armenians can do if they set aside  theri  un cooperativeness and let  in new blood new directors  in their structures…old ones will have to retire and watch with nostalgia  old  days… 

  11. Gayztag

    Armenians aren’t my favorite people as we have conflict but you are a great man. I hope your wish comes true 

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