More Tainted Fruit


As if it wasn’t enough that we are deprived of eating apricots grown in our and their native soil unless they’ve gone through Turkey’s economic system.

A worker preparing fresh pomegranate juice in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: Jessica May H)

As if it wasn’t enough that our own community members are among the biggest distributors of Turkish produced goods.

As if it wasn’t enough that Turkish goods even have a huge presence in the Republic of Armenia.

As if it wasn’t enough that meat in Lebanon often comes from Turkey (or at least used to).

As if it wasn’t enough that textiles from Turkey are heavily represented in the U.S.  Have you tried buying towel not made in Turkey?  Last time I checked, it was damn near impossible.

As if it wasn’t enough that processed, canned, foods from tomato paste to dried fruit produced by Turkey somehow underprice those of other Middle Eastern countries.

As if it wasn’t enough that the money generated by Turkey’s lucrative food export industry ended up funding, through Erdogan’s machinations, Daesh/ISIS which has caused so much destruction, death, and misery in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and their environs, including to Armenians living there.

Now, we have Azerbaijan to deal with, too, in the same category.  The Azeri-apples-in-Armenia fiasco may have been just the tip of the iceberg.  I don’t mean that there are likely other such instances of which we’re unaware—no doubt there are.  I mean that Azerbaijan seems to be entering the foodstuffs-export business in a big way.

According to ITE Food & Drink, Azerbaijan’s Fruit and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association (AMTIIA) was recently (August 2016) formed.  It has already racked up a big win by arranging for its member companies to be able to export their produce to X5, Russia’s second largest food retailer.  This should be seen in the context of Russia’s search for alternative sources of fresh produce since its ban on European imports in the post-Crimea-reclamation era.  According to a brief, April 12, item on Azerbaijan State News Agency’s site, the country has increased its fruit and vegetable exports by 73% in the first quarter of the year.

The same tide that raised Armenia’s boat of exports to Russia seems to be helping the Azeris, too.  All of this would elicit a shrug and get filed in the “what’re-ya-gonna-do” category but for one aspect.

Just a few days ago I bought a bottle of pomegranate juice.  Only after it was consumed did I discover that the juice was produced in Russia, with fruit imported from Azerbaijan!  So now, we have to watch out for disguised Azerbaijani products in addition to direct Azerbaijani imports on top of all the Turkish goods entering the U.S.  Just what we needed!  How much does that hurt?  Pomegranates are probably second only to apricots in the Armenian fruit “pantheon” in their symbolism and importance.  Now, they’re being tainted by Azerbaijan.

The brand of juice in this case was Beneli.  Watch out for it, and let’s start being alert to other such products on our grocery store shelves.  Remember, the money you spend on such items pays for the bullets killing Armenian soldiers on our eastern front.  Baku knows their oil-and-gas reserves are starting to wind down and other sources of revenue are being developed.

Let’s complain loudly whenever we notice such items.  Convey to retailers that such products are unwanted, offensive, and might lead to your discontinuing your shopping from that store.

4 Comments on More Tainted Fruit

  1. So glad you are covering this topic. For the last 30 years I battle with this issue with my Armenians friends and family not to purchase anything made in turkey. Even had arguments at the Armenian grocery stores that sell Turkish produce, they still do. Armenian government has lot of fault in this. Why aren’t there Armenian products in the markets, why not encourage the Armenian farmer, help them to produce Armenian goods and export them. Whenever I go to any grocery store that sells Armenian preserves, I purchase a few, even though we don’t eat any of it. I give them away to my American friends, so they will start buying also. Just to help the sales of Armenian products. I always see Turkish product in Armenian homes, trust me they here my criticism……every little bit helps the big picture. Thank you for the article.

  2. Well, I have always been against buying any (made in turkey” products. I chose to pay a little more than spending my hard earned dollars on Turkish products. I keep questing myself why do Armenian owned/managed grocery stores even promote such products? I once asked a grocery
    Store owner “why do you have made in turkey anything on your shelves?” I was very disappointed when he responded by saying “why not” I simply stopped shopping there

  3. avatar Laurence Kueffer // June 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm // Reply

    The confiscation of Armenian agricultural land awarded to Turkish and Kurdish fortune hunters, during the Armenian Genocide is a noteworthy aspect of cultural genocide perpetrated against the Armenian People. This problem has been compounded by Ataturk’s Turkey, which aggressively works to erase Armenian Cultural Heritage in present day Turkey. The Armenian Apricot is a distinctly Armenian fruit variety of the apricot. In fact, the orange stripe in the Armenian Tricolor Flag symbolizes the Fertility of the Armenian Apricot, as well as the Fertility of the Armenian Land; despite that, we see these very same apricots being marketed as Turkish Apricots (in places like Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe’s).

    The proper way to do it, is to give credit to the originators of these agricultural products, as is the case with Native American Corn (or Maize), rather than erasing the legacy of the founders of these products. This article does well to draw our attention to our ethical compulsion to ban these so-called Turkish Products. It’s not only about import/export economics, it’s also about the thievery of the Turks and Kurds whom have financially benefitted from the thievery of cultural genocide, and the Armenian Genocide.

  4. avatar Ara Kassabian // June 3, 2017 at 3:26 am // Reply

    Patronize stores that don’t sell Turkish products. For example, Voskevaz Market in Glendale, on Colorado Blvd.

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