GLENDALE–Congressional Armenian Caucus Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and University of California–Los Angeles alumni–Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) have called upon their colleagues to oppose the Turkish government’s "revisionist history campaign" by cosigning a letter to California Governor Pete Wilson in opposition to the establishment of a Turkish-government funded Chair in Ottoman and Turkish History at UCLA–reported the Armenian National Committee of America -Western Region.
In a Nov. 12 letter to members of the House–Pallone and Sherman explained that–"The Turkish government has waged a relentless campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23–in which more than 1.5 million people were murdered. It has now taken this revisionist history campaign to a new battleground–to some of the most prestigious and respected universities in the United States."
The controversy surrounding the Turkish History Chair surfaced several weeks ago when Turkish newspapers reported that UCLA officials had traveled to Washington to accept the first of four $250,000 paymen’s from the Turkish Embassy for the establishment of a Turkish History Chair.
"The Government of Turkey and its lobbyists in Washington will continue to try to deny the historical record about the Armenian Genocide and other acts committed by the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey–and will continue to whitewash such current atrocities as its mistreatment of the Kurdish people and its continued illegal occupation of Cyprus," continued the Pallone-Sherman letter.
"We are trying to make sure that this effort does not reach the minds of America’s students–who attend universities seeking truth–not propaganda paid for by a repressive foreign government," asserted the letter.
"This initiative by Reps. Pallone and Sherman vividly illustrates the grave concerns all Americans have when foreign governmen’s–especially repressive ones such as Turkey–seek to take advantage of our free and open society by manipulating the truth through the establishment of academic chairs at our nation’s finest educational institutions," stated Executive Director of the ANCA-WR–Vicken Sonentz-Papazian.
"Given Turkey’s abhorable record on human rights–its continued denial and cover-up of the Armenian Genocide and nationwide repression and censorship of its own academic institutions–there is no logical reason for anyone to believe that Turkey’s intentions for establishing this chair are anything other than political," concluded Sontentz-Papazian