BY YERAN SIMONIAN
Turkey makes no secret of openly buying influence in Congress through highly-paid professional lobbyists.
At the top of their list, of course, is Dick Gephardt, the one-time colleague and leader of the House Democrats. His firm is the current flagship of the Turkish lobby.
It’s no mystery why.
Very simply, Gephardt is the best connected former Member of Congress.
Having served in the powerful post of U.S. House Majority Leader and many others, he helped mentor many in the current generation of Congressional Democratic leaders. Add to this his deep pockets, and he’s perfectly positioned to persuade and, if need be, pressure U.S. House leaders to deliver Turkey’s #1 bilateral priority with the United States: blocking the passage by Congress of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
Clearly, Turkey understands this. The millions they pay Mr. Gephardt are no act of charity. They represent, very bluntly, Ankara’s annual payment for a share of U.S. foreign policy.
Turkey has made its business decision. For the price of a few million dollars, it has made a financial investment to secure its past genocide gains, an insurance policy taken out against the possibility of truth and justice.
Mr. Gephardt has made his decision as well, turning his back on his past, principled support of Armenian Genocide recognition in return for millions from his new foreign paymasters.
Now, the leadership of the House Democrats have their choice to make, both morally and politically.
Morally, the House leadership needs to take a stand, either for America’s core commitment against genocide or, under foreign pressure, to accept a gag rule on America’s defense of human rights.
Politically, the choice is just as stark. It’s between Mr. Gephardt and all of the rest of Turkey’s foreign-agent lobbyists, on the one hand, and the nationwide grassroots of Armenian American communities on the other.
The choice is clear. There is no middle ground.
Either they pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.252, or they don’t.
All that remains is for us to see what choice the House Democrats end up making, and whether they are prepared to pay the political price for it.