By Hagop Hagopian, Toronto, 25 June 2022
Azerbaijanis, Iranian-Azerbaijanis, and Turks in Canada will establish a coalition organization in September to primarily enhance the image of the Azeri dictatorship among Canadians.
Spearheaded by retired politician and long-time promoter of Turkey Tony Ruprecht, the coalition is expected, according to reliable sources, to lobby Canada to recognize the thirty-year-old firefight in Khojali (Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh) between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops as genocide. The organization is also certain to lobby Canada to lift the ban on the export of high-tech drone parts to Turkey. Anti-Armenia and anti-Armenian propaganda is expected to be an integral part of the incipient coalition. Considering Turkey’s long experience in propagating anti-Armenian falsehoods, it’s expected Turkish community representatives will take a leading role in the Azeri-funded coalition.
The coalition will certainly ignore that no election in Azerbaijan has been deemed free and fair. The three-headed entity would not mention that President Ilham Aliev is a dictator. It would also pretend ignorance of the imprisoned journalists, the beatings in prisons, the lack of access to lawyers, lack of access to medical care, forced confessions, and lengthy pretrial detentions. It will certainly not talk about the Armenian POWs who are tortured in Azeri prisons.
Ruprecht returned recently from an Azerbaijan junket where he was guided through Azeri-occupied Artsakh. Did he see the defacement of Armenian churches and sacred icons? Did he care to protest? During the freebie visit, Ruprecht misled his hosts by identifying himself as representing the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada. Upon his return to Canada, he received a cease and desist letter from Tom Saras, president and CEO of the group, telling him not to repeat the misleading connection.
In recent months, three Canadian members of parliament have been on similar Azeri “familiarization” trips. The junket racket, dubbed Caviar Diplomacy, is a transparent Azeri ploy to win political friends courtesy of petro-dollars. Politicians from around the globe are wined and dined in Azerbaijan, receive expensive “souvenirs”, and are force-fed false history and anti-Armenian misinformation. Their flight and accommodation expenses are picked up by Aliev’s generous minions. Over the years, US government investigators have revealed that politicians on Azeri junkets have received jade earrings, rugs worth $3,500, silk scarves, tea sets, perfumes, and video box sets about the life and times of Aliev. One U.S. politician received an incredible 34 presents.
Some local MPPs are similarly lobbying provincial governments on behalf of the Turkish and Azeri embassies to adopt policies favorable to Turkey and Azerbaijan. These politicians are working hand in glove with both countries’ embassies and consulates and provide them with access to provincial decision makers.
We call upon Canadian-Armenian organizations to take concrete measures to expose the interference of foreign governments into Canadian domestic affairs and for pitting ethnic communities against each other.