Major US companies continue to distance themselves from two corporate coalitions that are publicly backing the Turkish government's campaign against the Armenian Genocide Resolution, according to documents released today by the Armenian National Committee of America.
The American Turkish Council (ATC) and the American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT), both coalitions claiming to represent US corporationsdoing business in Turkey, have each publicly - and aggressively - opposed the adoption by Congress of legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
In response to these efforts, the ANCA sent formal letters last month to each member of the two coalitions, requesting that they clarify their position on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. To date,the ANCA has received written confirmation from a number of these companies that they are not opposed to the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Among these are several major multinationals, such as Microsoft, Xerox, American Express, Altria, Johnson & Johnson, FedEx, and Cargill.
Leonard W. Condon, Vice President of Altria's International Business
Relations, explained in a letter to the ANCA that: "Our international
tobacco company, Philip Morris International (PMI) is a member of
the Turkish American Council. However, neither PMI nor Altria have
taken a position - and neither company plans to take a position -
on the proposed Resolution." Altria is ranked 20th on the Fortune
500 and had revenues last year of $101.4 billion.
Thomas Schick, the Executive Vice President for American Express
Corporate Affairs and Communications, in a letter to ANCA, wrote:
"Please be assured that, as a matter of company policy, American
Express does not take a position on issues before any legislative
body that do not directly affect our company." American Express is
ranked 69th on the Fortune 500 and brought in revenues during 2006 of $30.08 billion.
(from first reports)
'Genocide' row threatens pipeline
Turkey has suspended talks with Gaz de France over a key gas pipeline, in protest at a French bill about the killing of Armenians in World War I.
The planned pipeline would carry natural gas from the Middle East and Central Asia to Austria through Turkey.
The French Parliament is considering a law that would make it an offence to deny that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians.
The draft law was approved by the National Assembly in October.
It will be considered by the Senate next and then return to the lower house before it becomes law.
The 4.6bn euro ($6.1bn; £3.1bn) Nabucco pipeline project is supposed to reduce the European Union's reliance on Russian gas.
It also passes through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, which have already reached agreement with Gaz de France.
The Turkish government denies that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed in systematic killings between 1915 and 1917 under the Ottoman Empire.
It says that thousands of Turks and Armenians were killed when Armenians sided with Russian troops invading the empire, but many countries have since recognised the killings as genocide.