28 February 2008

2363) National & Ethnic Interests; Anti-Turkish Lobbies, Misrepresentation Of Turks & Manipulation Of Historical Facts : Lobbying 101 : P:4


Earlier Parts Of The Lobbying 101 Series
  • Introduction To The New "Lobbying 101" Series
  • 1) Who Are Lobbyists & What Motivates Them?
  • 2) Turkey's Image Abroad
  • 3) Turkic & Ottoman Communities History & Reasons For A Weak Turkish Lobby


  • I. OUTLINE OF Part 4 :
    National & ethnic interests; Anti-Turkish lobbies, misrepresentation of Turks and the manipulation of historical facts.

    1. Advantages anti-Turkish lobbies have over the Turkish lobby.

    a. Greek lobbying activities.
    b. Armenian lobbying activities.
    c. Kurdish lobbying activities.

    2. Arab and Muslim Americans as an increasingly active ethnic interest group.

    II. EXERCISE, ACTIVITIES & PROJECTS

    -Study carefully the history and causes of disputes. Be willing to study explanations from all sides, even when they seem unreasonable or unrealistic.

    -What are the sources of stereotypes? How are stereotypes reinforced?
    -Compare public relations activities with deliberate image tarnishing?
    -Define & give examples of defamation & anti-defamation groups (ex: Italians associated with mafia & crime).

    ● See Jewish Anti-Defamation League www.adl.org
    ● See American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee www.adc.com
    ● See Muslim Public Affairs Council www.mpac.org

    When we judge people and groups based on our prejudices and stereotypes and treat them differently, we are engaging in discrimination. Explain how discrimination may take many forms (ex: racism, selective employment, housing, education...)

    III. QUESTIONS

    ●Have you ever had positive encounters with lobbyists regarding Turkey?
    ●Have you ever had negative encounters with anti-Turkish lobbies and their members?
    ●Do foreign governments or political parties coordinate with ethnic lobbies in order to influence U.S. and European decision-making?
    ●How can U.S. foreign policy be manipulated?
    ●Do you need a large, wealthy and well-educated Diaspora to be successful?
    ●Are there signs that ethnic lobbying is becoming a dangerous force that can undermine U.S. interests?
    ●Is it possible that in the future some ethnic or racial groups in the U.S. may demand that greater attention be paid to their ancestral homelands?

    IV. BACKGROUND MATERIAL . .


    The Jewish/pro-Israel, Greek, and Armenian lobbies, which strive to influence U.S. foreign policy, stand out as the most effectively organized. Because lawmakers are not policy experts, they can be influenced by the information these lobbies provide. Known as ethnic lobbies, or ethnic interest groups, these lobbies try to pressure the U.S. government to favor various nations of their origin. While the Jewish/pro-Israel lobby has recently worked on passing legislation in Turkey's interests, the Greek-American and Armenian-American lobbies have had tremendous success in shaping U.S. policy against Turkey (see Unit 8 What can be learned from powerful lobbies such as the Jewish/Pro-Israel lobby).

    When Turkish-Israeli relations improved after the mid-1990's, Turkey was able to get support from some powerful circles of the Jewish/pro-Israel lobby. Turkish-American Jewish relations already had a warm foundation in the 1980's upon which ties were built. The Jewish/pro-Israel lobby, and its many allies, supported Ankara on issues related to Azerbaijan, the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, the importance of secularism, Turkey's EU membership, allegations of an Armenian genocide, and on business relations. Despite the good feelings between the Jewish/pro-Israel lobby and Turkey, cooperation was limited due to various factors, including the desire of the Jewish/pro-Israel lobby not to come into conflict with the anti-Turkish lobbies. Turkey's harsh reactions to the excessive violence used by Israel against the Palestinians, has been a reason for the cooling of relations. Other lobby allies for Turkey have been some geo-political strategists, military contractors, and NATO policymakers, due to the fact Turkish-U.S. relations have been built upon common security needs.

    The ethnic interest groups which have repeatedly harmed the development of Turkish-U.S. relations are the Greek-American, Greek Cypriot-American, Armenian-American, and emerging Kurdish lobby. Human rights lobbies have also been involved in anti-Turkish lobbying activities, and have sought to block arms sales and pressure the U.S. to encourage Turkey to further democratize. These lobbies are guided by powerful organizations such as the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee, American Hellenic Institute, American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian National Committee of America, and the American Kurdish Information Network. Greek and Armenian lobbies are especially powerful in New York, New Jersey, and California.

    The material and information that is presented to lawmakers by anti-Turkish lobbies is not verified, although the interests of the American people should require all information be subject to verification. The same is true for EU lawmakers and European interests. It is also not possible to ensure that lawmakers have information from a variety of objective and unbiased sources. Furthermore, investigations are not regularly conducted to determine if deliberate attempts have been made to mislead lawmakers. In order to protect the public interest, no ethnic group or lobby should be allowed to misrepresent the facts with impunity. Investigations could discourage the use of disinformation, and reveal strategies that may be employed at the local, state, and federal levels. The lack of public interest and lack of media attention to such matters allows decision-makers to be knowingly, or unknowingly, manipulated by inaccurate information and propaganda. In the eyes of the Turkish lobby and Turkey, lawmakers appear tolerant to disinformation, and to the selective manipulation of historic events.

    Successful efforts of the Greek lobby were evident in the instrumental role they played in the placement of an embargo on Turkey after the 1974 intervention in Cyprus. The Armenian lobby succeeded in the early 1990's when Armenians pushed to pass legislation against Azerbaijan to ban U.S. aid. It has also been very successful at gaining recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide from various state legislatures. Further areas of success are evident in the fact that Armenia is one of the highest economic aid recipients (of per capita economic assistance). The Jewish/pro-Israel lobby's success is also evident, with Israel being the largest single recipient of American foreign assistance.

    One of the troubling developments in U.S. policymaking is that with more and more ethnic groups learning how to play the fund-raising and lobbying game, policymaking is becoming increasing complicated by narrower considerations (for further reading: The Politics of Minority Coalitions, Edited by Wilbur Rich, Greenwood Publishing, USA, 1996). It is also frustrating for some groups, including those in government, when there is inconsistency of policy application. One example is granting China most-favored nation status despite human rights violations. Other examples include the increasing demands placed on U.S. authorities by millions of illegal immigrants who have been violating laws (but nonetheless, who receive health care, and education for their children).

    Friends of Turkey have often asked why ethnic groups whose ancestors lived during the troubled times of the Ottoman Empire, display such hostility against present-day Turkey, and why historical facts are distorted. The answer is hard to give, but the Turkish lobby should make a greater effort to point out the reasons behind campaigns to tarnish the Turkish people. Worldwide studies should be produced by Turkish lobbies to understand how creating an enemy out of the Turkish people can keep certain ethnic groups united, and remove their fear of survival as a political force. The perpetuation of anti-Turkey hatred is also a way of socializing the next generation of Armenian-Americans and Greek-Americans, and ensuring that nationalistic sentiments from their homeland are felt in U.S. bilateral relations and in U.S. foreign policy. It is however unfortunate that the hatred that is transmitted for these purposes is internationally divisive, and for America is genuinely un-American.

    The misrepresentation of Turks in America is also due to a lack of understanding of Muslims. There are approximately 7 to 10 million Muslims in the U.S. About half the 2.5 million Arab population in the U.S. is Christian. But despite this large figure and mixture of Muslim and Christian Arabs, Americans are not well-informed about Arabs and the Islamic religion. Although the Arab-Muslim community is not that well-organized, Arab-Americans as an ethnic group are increasingly trying to better educate the American people, provide accurate information, and improve the image of Muslims. The Turkish lobby can cooperate and form coalitions with some Arab-Muslim organizations in order to advance common objectives. Below are some objectives and activities of Arab-Muslim American organizations:

    ●Protecting the rights of people of Arab descent.
    ●Promoting and defending the Arab-American heritage.
    ●Serving the needs of the Arab-American community.
    ●Voter mobilization and education; information for government, educational institutions, and the media on the policy concerns of Arab-Americans and on U.S.-Middle East relations.
    ●Arab American electoral participation, and voter registration.
    ●Arab American civil and political rights.
    ●Counter-terrorism policies, proposals, surveillance & detention issues.
    ●Combating discrimination, bigotry, and the defamation of Arab and Muslim people.
    ●Demographics and census.
    ●Ethnic and race relations.
    ●Immigration reform.
    ●Immigration counseling.
    ●Middle East peace process.
    ●U.S. foreign policy and policy in the Middle East.
    ●Congressional testimony.
    ●Palestinian statehood.
    ●Jerusalem.
    ●Foreign aid.
    ●Public opinion & polling.
    ●Monitoring media bias toward Israel.
    ●Promoting an even handed U.S. foreign policy based on justice and peace for all parties in the Middle East.
    ●Electoral politics: Arab American Democratic and Republican Clubs.
    ●Electoral politics: Arab American Leadership Council (promotes Arab American service in public and political life through technical and financial support for candidates, endorsements of government appointments and policies at every level, and liaison within the national parties).
    ●Coalition building.
    ●Lobbying (state and grassroots).
    ●Congressional voting analysis.
    ●Local and municipal affairs.
    ●Media outreach.
    ●Direct action.
    ●Initiative/referendum campaigns.
    ●Demonstrations.
    ●Conferences & seminars.
    ●Award programs.
    ●Internet.
    ●Monitoring the Arab image and racist stereotypes in American film and television.
    ●Promoting interfaith dialogue and dialogue between America's Arab and Jewish communities.
    ●Library/information clearinghouse.
    ●Film, video, etc.
    ●International activities.
    ●Research.
    ●Newsletter and publications.
    ●Speakers program.
    ●Telecommunications services (databases and mailing lists).
    ●Training and technical assistance.

    Note: This site acknowledges that Armenians, and Turks, were killed during the alleged period of the so-called "Armenian genocide." The site holds the position that the deaths of Armenians were a result of civil unrest and war, not the result of a deliberate and systematic Ottoman policy to destroy a race. As to the number of Armenians and Turks killed, the site refers to census data from the Ottoman Empire, which reveals that the figures presented by the Armenian Diaspora are inaccurate.

    COMMON STEREOTYPES OF TURKS:
    *Turks are warriors, cruel, and abuse human rights
    *Muslims have many wives & harems.

    THE PROBLEM OF STEREOTYPES

    ●P R & IMAGE MAKING
    ●DELIBERATE IMAGE TARNISHING & REINFORCEMENT OF STEREOTYPES

    Stereotype: A standardized image or conception. Oversimplified and distorted ideas. A stereotype is usually a broad generalization about an entire group based on limited knowledge, or limited exposure. A stereotype creates an association, or suggests an idea or notion, often not flattering or true of a group of people. Stereotyping usually takes place when assumptions are made based upon race or sex. (Example, political cartoons are very difficult to create without ethnic and racial stereotypes).

    Prejudice: A biased, non-objective, subjective opinion. An opinion of a person or group formed beforehand, especially an unfavorable one based on inadequate facts or a stereotype. Prejudice also refers to the intolerance of, or dislike for, people of a specific race, religion, or other group.

    Discrimination: Unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, or other group. Discrimination is action based on prejudice.

    Bigotry: Intolerance for the beliefs of others. Such a person can be called a bigot.

    Racism: A belief that one race is superior to another.

    Propaganda: Information which is used to promote a cause, or to injure or enhance the reputation of a group, individual, or even a country. The information may distort the facts, or may not tell the entire story, in order to suit the purposes of the propagandist. Information is presented in such a way as to provoke a desired response. Propaganda is often spread through a systematic and organized method of dissemination of information and allegations, to assist or damage the cause of a government, a movement, or for other motives. Propaganda is a systematic attempt to manipulate public opinion, attitudes, beliefs, and actions of people, through the use of these various methods. Propaganda is distinguished from educating or informing because it is deliberate selectivity and manipulation. Propaganda is sometimes referred to as public diplomacy, or public affairs.

    Disinformation: Purposefully incorrect information.
    Information and material that is based on falsehoods and untruths. The deliberate falsification of information.
    Related term: misinformation.

    Political correctness (politically correct, PC): Avoiding forms of expression or action that exclude, marginalize, or insult certain racial or cultural groups (e.g.: in advertising). Critics see PC as a means of suppressing legitimate debate and as a form of censorship because public discussion of viewpoints is often limited in order to avoid potentially offensive terminology, consequences, or public behavior. PC is a term that is used differently in various countries.
    Defamation: Defamation is any false statement about a person or people (or organization) that creates public hatred, contempt, ridicule, or inflicts injury on reputation or good name. Injury by attack or accusation can be caused by two forms of defamation: “libel” and “slander.” “Libel” involves print & publishing of a falsehood that harms someone. “Slander” is applies to the spoken word. Collectively, “slander & libel” are referred to as “defamation.”

    A person filing a “defamation suit” (taking legal action) usually must prove that:
    (1) the false statement was communicated to others through print, broadcast, or electronic means;
    (2) the person was identified or is identifiable;
    (3) there is actual injury in the form of money losses, loss of reputation, or mental suffering; and
    (4) the person making the statement was malicious or negligent.

    Anti-defamation: To counter and prevent an attack to a person's good name or reputation (group or organization). To fight libel and slander. When considering defamation cases, courts also take into consideration the other party’s right to “freedom of speech.”

    Immigrant: Broadly defined as anyone who enters a country other than their native country with the intention of settling there. In practice, the term encompasses a wide range of non-native people who reside in a country, either legally or illegally.

    Ethnocentrism: The belief that one's own ethnic, religious, or political group is superior to all others.

    Demagogue: A person who gains power through impassioned public appeals to the emotions and prejudices of a group by speaking or writing.

    Xenophobia: Hatred or fear of foreigners, or their politics, or culture.

    Public relations (PR): The practice of creating, promoting, or maintaining goodwill and a favourable image among the public for an institution, country, product, organization, etc. Public relations campaigns are a series of coordinated activities designed to create a favorable image.
    PR Related terms: public affairs, public information, community relations, media relations, corporate relations, corporate public affairs, corporate communications, corporate marketing and communications…

    Advertising: The use of Ads / advertisements and advertising techniques which create publicity. An effective tool of lobbyists. Announcements, documentaries, brochures, DVDs, etc., are used by advertising agencies for PR and to make political issues publicly known.

    Public opinion: The general attitude of the public.

    Watchdogs: Ethnic groups, lobbies, anti-defamation organizations, and minorities often create organizations to monitor the media, legislative issues, competing interest groups, etc. in order to defend their interests. Watchdog groups also monitor governmental agencies and sometimes lobby on behalf of the general public (these groups can function as "public interest groups" or as a "citizens' group" that seek to further the collective good without benefiting their own members). Individuals who uncover violations of regulations, or unacceptable behavior, are often called "whistle blowers."

    NOTE: Laws, codes of ethics, and social responsibility regulate how the activities above are conducted in different political systems & countries around the world (which regulate lobbying laws, NGO's and interest groups, contributions to political campaigns & candidates, defamation laws, ethics in advertising, editorial policy in journalism, and restrictions on freedom of speech).

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