Genocide Prevention Groups Urge Coca-Cola / Citigroup to Sever Ties with Genocide Denial

WASHINGTON, DC - America's leading genocide prevention groups this week called upon Coca-Cola and Citigroup to suspend their participation in a conference hosted by an organization waging a public campaign that supports the Turkish government's denial of the Armenian Genocide, the Ottoman Turkish Government’s centrally planned and systematically executed mass murder of Christian Armenians.

In letters sent yesterday to the boards of directors of Citigroup and Coca-Cola, United to End Genocide, Investors Against Genocide, Genocide Watch, Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur, Jewish World Watch, and the Armenian National Committee of America all called upon these two corporations to sever any ties with organizations, such as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), that actively deny the Armenian Genocide.  Citigroup and Coca-Cola are ranked by Fortune magazine as the 20th and 59th largest American corporations, respectively.

Both firms are scheduled to be represented at the ATAA's convention, being held in Washington, DC starting on April 25, the day after the worldwide commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.  Speaking on behalf of Coca-Cola will be its Chairman, Muhtar Kent; representing Citigroup will be its Senior Vice President for International Government Affairs, Charles R. Johnston.  The signatories of the letter asked both corporations to withdraw their speakers from the conference, and, failing that, to publicly clarify that any participation by the officials is in a personal capacity.

Also scheduled to speak at the ATAA conference, over the publicly voiced objections of the ANCA, is the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone.  The Obama Administration has yet to confirm that any of its representatives will participate in the annual Capitol Hill Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, to be hosted by the Congressional Armenian Caucus on April 24th at the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902.  The ANCA’s invitation to Secretary of State John Kerry and representatives of the State Department to attend the Congressional event is available at:

http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/ANCA_Kerry_Genocide_invite.pdf

 

The complete texts of the letters to Coca-Cola and Citigroup are provided below.

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April 18, 2013

Members of the Board of Directors
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA  30301

Dear Members of the Coca-Cola Company’s Board of Directors:

We are writing to express our profound concern regarding the Coca Cola Company’s association with an organization that has, for many years, orchestrated a hateful public campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide, a government sponsored campaign that killed over 1,000,000 men, women and children because of their Armenian ethnicity and Christian faith.

As you may know, the Chairman of your Board, Mr. Muhtar Kent, is scheduled to speak on April 27th, three days after the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, at a grassroots organizing conference hosted by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) - an organization that routinely denies the Armenian Genocide and urges its members to block its commemoration in the United States.

As the International Association of Genocide Scholars wrote in March 2007, “As crimes of genocide continue to plague the world, Turkey’s policy of denying the Armenian Genocide gives license to those who perpetrate genocide everywhere... Denial is the final stage of genocide, as it seeks to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators.”

We respect the Coca Cola Company’s stated view, as outlined in your code of conduct, that: “integrity means doing what is right.”  It is in this spirit that we call upon you to sever any connection between the Coca-Cola Company and organizations, such as the ATAA, which actively deny the Armenian Genocide.

If, even after our efforts to alert your company to the ATAA’s public record of genocide denial, Mr. Kent chooses to still address their conference, we ask that the Coca Cola Company publicly clarify that he is supporting this organization on a personal basis, and that the denial of any genocide, past or present, reflects neither the views nor values of your company.

We look forward to your response to our concerns, and would, of course, be pleased to meet with your board to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely,

Aram Hamparian
Executive Director, Armenian National Committee of America

Tom Andrews
President and CEO, United to End Genocide

Eric Cohen
Chairperson, Investors Against Genocide

Gregory Stanton
President, Genocide Watch

Bill Rosenfeld
Director, Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur

Vaughan Meyer
Advocacy Committee Chair, Jewish World Watch

 

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April 18, 2013

Members of the Board of Directors
Citigroup Inc.
399 Park Avenue
New York City, NY  10043

Dear Members of Citigroup’s Board of Directors:

We are writing to express our profound concern regarding Citi’s association with an organization that has, for many years, orchestrated a hateful public campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide, a government sponsored campaign that killed over 1,000,000 men, women and children because of their Armenian ethnicity and Christian faith.

As you may know, Citi’s Senior Vice President, International Government Affairs Charles R. Johnston is scheduled to speak on April 26th, two days after the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, at a grassroots organizing conference hosted by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) - an organization that routinely denies the Armenian Genocide and urges its members to block its commemoration in the United States.

As the International Association of Genocide Scholars wrote in March 2007, “As crimes of genocide continue to plague the world, Turkey’s policy of denying the Armenian Genocide gives license to those who perpetrate genocide everywhere. . . .  Denial is the final stage of genocide, as it seeks to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators.”

We respect Citi’s stated view, as outlined in your Citizenship Report, that: “Our common purpose is to always conduct business with integrity....”  It is in this spirit that we call upon you to sever any connection between Citi and organizations, such as the ATAA, which actively deny the Armenian Genocide.

If, even after our efforts to alert your company to the ATAA’s public record of genocide denial, Mr. Johnston chooses to still address their conference, we ask that Citi publicly clarify that he is supporting this organization on a personal basis, and that the denial of any genocide, past or present, reflects neither the views nor values of your company.

We look forward to your response to our concerns, and would, of course, be pleased to meet with your board to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely,

Aram Hamparian
Executive Director, Armenian National Committee of America

Tom Andrews
President and CEO, United to End Genocide

Eric Cohen
Chairperson, Investors Against Genocide
 
Gregory Stanton
President, Genocide Watch

Bill Rosenfeld
Director, Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur

Vaughan Meyer
Advocacy Committee Chair, Jewish World Watch

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