Los Angeles City Council candidate Christine Essel, who is facing a run-off election against Paul Krekorian on December 8, issued an appeal to the Armenian-American community after the Azeri press reported that she attended a fund-raiser by “Turkic-Americans.”
Below is the text of Essel’s appeal:
To My Friends in the Los Angeles Armenian-American Community:
It has recently come to my attention that reports are circulating which suggest that I have aligned myself with special interest groups from the Turkish and Azeri communities in my bid for election to the Los Angeles City Council. These reports are false and have mischaracterized my campaign efforts in an attempt to drive a wedge between the voters and myself, drawn along ethnic lines and deeply held feelings. Out of my deep respect for you as a community, your history and heritage, I wish to address these reports to answer any question you may have as to where I stand on issues I know are of the utmost importance to you.
While it is true that I was a guest at a gathering hosted by a Turkish-American, my stance on the Armenian Genocide is unwavering. It is, and always has been, my position that the genocide of the Armenians from 1915 to 1918, like other atrocities, must be recognized as historical fact. It is only through this recognition that we may be able to close these chapters in our human history and begin to heal the wounds caused by man’s inhumanity to man. As elected officials, we must always stand by the truth, and call for justice without compromise.
I pledge my support to the Armenian community in fighting for the recognition that your history so rightly deserves. As a candidate, I also seek to solve the problems that are facing the City of Los Angeles: joblessness, excessive taxation, community blight and an aging infrastructure, just to name a few.
I hope that you will join me in seeking a brighter future for all of us who call Los Angeles home, knowing that as we look to the future, we shall never forget the past. While Los Angeles is a city of many ethnicities, we are all Angelenos and we must stand united to solve the problems that affect our quality of life. As I continue my campaign, I look forward to meeting with all members of our community, to share my vision for Los Angeles and our future.
Essel’s campaign manager Tom Berman stressed to Asbarez that the event was a campaign “meet and greet,” adding that there were no funds raised at the event.
On October 17, LA-based millionaire and Turkish community leader Mike Mustafoglu and his wife, Demetra George hosted a champagne brunch at their Beverly Hills home. News reports following the event indicated that the event was sponsored by a “Pax Turcica,” an umbrella organization for Turkish groups that includes the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations, the Azerbaijani-American Council and Turkish Coalition of America, among others.
An invitation letter authored by Dr. Javid Huseynov of Pax Turcica read: “Turkic-American support for Chris Essel is of greatest importance, especially due to her runoff election against Assemblyman Paul Krekorian.”
“As a community, we must stand up in support of Chris Essel and not let the ethnophobic policies poison the Los Angeles City Council,” continued Huseynov in his letter, at the end of which he urges individuals who could not attend the event to contribute to Essel’s campaign.