On Mar. 15, 2007, a classified cable was sent from the US Embassy in Turkey to the US Department of State, which was published May 24 on the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.
This particular cable refers to a meeting on Mar. 9, 2007, between then US Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Bryza and Istanbul Deputy Governor for minority affairs Fikret Kasapoglu, in which the parties discuss the Armenian Genocide Resolution (referred to as AGR in the cable) being debated in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.
“Bryza stressed that the Administration is working hard to convince Congress not to pass AGRs currently being contemplated in both the US House of Representatives and Senate. The Administration’s position remains that a candid discussion about Turkish-Armenian history should take place within civil society, he said. Kasapoglu believes the case against AGRs should stress four points:
- Istanbul’s tradition of tolerance for different cultures dating back to the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.
- Despite historical and present political tensions between Turkey and Armenia, more than 40,000 economic migrants from Armenia still choose to live in Turkey illegally (we regularly hear the number 70,000 from GOT officials)
- The positive, spontaneous, mass public condemnation of Hrant Dink’s assassination was a sign of the respect people have for each other and for different cultures.
- Turkey’s mostly young population find it hard to comprehend what happened during World War I and politicizing ‘genocide’ allegations will only inspire hatred.”
Istanbul’s deputy governor also raised the issue of Turkish-Armenians, saying they were “increasingly seen as part of society but that certain events (e.g., AGRs) ‘just make things worse’.”
“The Deputy Governor agreed that arguing against congressional Armenian ‘genocide’ resolutions by focusing on a potential increase in ultra-nationalism and risks to the Turkish-Armenian community’s security is not constructive. Rather, Kasapoglu suggested focusing on Turkey’s tradition of tolerance for religious minorities and the fact that Armenians still choose to immigrate illegally by the thousands to Turkey,” reads the cable, in part.