Turkey and Azerbaijan Continue Shameful Whitewashing Campaign

Washington, D.C. – As Turkey and Azerbaijan continue their duplicitous public relations campaign to influence U.S. policy to whitewash their abysmal human rights record and cover up the financing of terrorists during last year’s 44-day war against the Armenian people, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) urges activists across the country to remain vigilant.

Yesterday, Armenia’s Human Rights Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan released a video featuring large- and small-caliber Azerbaijani gunfire aimed at civilian-populated areas in Armenia’s southernmost province of Syunik. “All this affirms, yet another time, that Azerbaijani troops must not be deployed on the roadways connecting the communities of Syunik as that seriously endangers civilians’ rights,” Tatoyan wrote in a public Facebook post.

As violence initiated by Azerbaijan continues against the Armenians, in contravention to the terms of the November 9, 2020 cease-fire agreement, Turkey and Azerbaijan have intensified their efforts to conceal the bloodiest chapters of their histories by pushing the State of Minnesota to declare February 26 as Azerbaijani Day, a day that Armenians commemorate the Sumgait pogroms, orchestrated by the Azerbaijani authorities, which lasted from February 26, 1988 to March 1, 1988.

In Philadelphia, the MUSIAD USA organization [Turkish American Business Association] sponsored a billboard on I-95 North, which cynically states: “Azerbaijanis (and Turks) are ready to live in harmony with Armenians. ‘How about Armenians?’”

The statement belies reality and completely ignores the ongoing atrocities being committed against the Armenian people from the mistreatment of prisoners of war to the attacks reported yesterday by Armenia’s Ombudsman, as well as Turkey and Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of Armenia, in addition to the ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey from 1915-1923.

For decades now, both Turkey and Azerbaijan have spent millions of dollars to fabricate a mass campaign of lies that overlooks all of their atrocities and attempts to place blame on the victims. The Assembly calls on the MUSIAD organization to disclose whether military sales promoted during the High-Tech Port by MUSIAD aimed to “enable the Turkish Defense and Aerospace Industry to reach new markets” were used against Armenian Christians or shared with the jihadists that were transported by Turkey and financed by Azerbaijan to fight against the Armenian people.

“The Assembly welcomes the swift action by the Philadelphia Armenian community in protest of this latest and deceptive billboard campaign,”  stated Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan. “We urge the community to continue to make our voices heard, not only in Philadelphia, but in Minnesota and across the country,” Khaloyan added.

For those who want to take action, please contact the billboard company, Lamar Advertising Company, by phone at (610) 779-9421 or via email to its VP/General Manager of the Greater Philadelphia area Dave Peacock (dpeacock@lamar.com), Philadelphia-area Sales Manager Rick Zitkovic (rzitkovic@lamar.com), and Lamar’s PR department (pr@lamar.com). To voice concerns over the recent proclamation by Minnesota’s Governor, Tim Walz, please contact his office at (651) 201-3400 or by email at gov.contact@state.mn.us.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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NR# 2021-8

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