Earlier this year, Nathan Eagle wrote Why Do Two Hawaii Lawmakers Care So Much About Azerbaijan? State representatives Takai and Cabanilla tried to pass anti-Armenian resolution after the two of them traveled to Azerbaijan in 2012 in a trip sponsored by the Azerbaijan government.
The bill generated much controversy as it was accused of rewriting history thusly:
On Feb. 25 and 26, 1992, "Armenian armed forces accompanied by Russian military troops occupied the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan and killed more than six hundred innocent civilians, including many women, children and the elderly; wounded more than one thousand civilians; and captured more than one thousand two hundred civilians."This revisionist history is also being pushed by the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) which seeks to demonize Armenians and is also rewriting the WWI genocide of Armenians so untruthfully that the University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies removed links to the TCA website for containing "unreliable" information on genocide. TCA sued the university claiming they were "defamed" but lost their suit.
When controversy over the inaccurate information in the bill blew up in her face, State Rep Cabanilla came up with some tangled logic on why it was ok to pass a bill that turns history on its head in furtherance of a campaign to deny genocide against Armenians:
"Maybe (the resolution) is not 100 percent accurate - I don’t know if it is or not - but the fact that they’re an ally and support our troops (in the region), they don’t have to say anything more after that."[emp added]Yesterday, Congresswoman Hanabusa and the Turkish Coaliton of America hosted an event at the Filipino Community Center (FilCom) with FilCom directors and a few other invitees to honor a $25,000 contribution from the Turkish American community to aid Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.
TCA appears to spend much of its time whitewashing Turkey's less than stellar human rights record by wooing minority groups.
As part of its advocacy for Turkish positions including opposition to resolutions declaring the Armenian Holocaust as genocide, TCA has also associated itself with Native American interest groups.
In 2012, TCA attempted to pass legislation permitting Turkey to invest in Native American tribes, and Rep. Hanabusa was one of just 43 Democrats to support the legislation. This special interest bill in favor of a foreign country (which incidentally just banned Twitter) allowed six Indian tribes to lease land to Turkish companies without securing the usual, often time-consuming Bureau of Indian Affairs approvals.
Armenian-Americans opposed the legislation because of the Turkish government's refusal to recognize the WWI Turkish slaughter of Armenians.
Rep Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said:
"I have no idea why they're being so nice to Native Americans. I'm sure there's some bad underlying reason or something that they're trying to gain."It is also noteworthy that TCA paid nearly $5,000 for a Hanabusa staffer to travel to Turkey.
Foreign countries are not allowed to donate to U.S. Federal candidates. But their groups like the Turkish Coalition of America get around these rules creatively.
Donating money to an organization representing constituents the candidate wants to woo is an excellent way of laundering foreign money. Will the $25,000 that TCA donated to the Filipino community's relief fund with Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa prominently front and center, help her with the Filipino vote?
Is that why Rep Hanabusa is associating herself with a genocide-denier group?
But the real question remains: Why are these Azerbaijani and Turkish groups meddling in Hawai'i politics?