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Cablegate: Gulen Movement Affiliates Plan Turkish-Armenian

VZCZCXRO9640
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHIT #0487 2541352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101352Z SEP 08
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8466
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0871
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY 0096
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000487

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SCUL SOCI TU AM GR
SUBJECT: GULEN MOVEMENT AFFILIATES PLAN TURKISH-ARMENIAN
FESTIVAL IN LOS ANGELES

1. Summary. Gulen-affiliated organizations are planning a
multi-cultural event April 2-5, 2009, in Costa Mesa,
California, titled "Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival/
Discovering Turkey." The festival will inform the local
community about Anatolian Culture and the contributions to it
of (among others) the Greek, Armenian, and Turkish
communities. The organizers claim to have the support of the
Turkish President and Minister of Culture, and intend to seek
the support of the Armenian government. End summary.

2. On September 9, we met with The Pacifica Institute, based
in Los Angeles, California, represented by Vice President
Ibrahim Barlas; its sister organization the
Bosphorus-Atlantic Association of Cultural Cooperation and
Friendship (BAKIAD), based in Istanbul, Turkey, represented
by Secretary General Kubilay Dikyurt; and Gurkan Vural, a
media consultant. They are planning an event titled
"Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival/ Discovering Turkey." The
festival will inform the Southern California community about
Anatolian Culture and the contributions to it of (among
others) the Greek, Armenian, and Turkish communities. (Barlas
estimated that some 30,000 people of Turkish descent reside
in Southern California; a quick Google search indicates that
as many as 450,000 persons of Armenian descent also reside
therein.) The festival will span four days (April 2-5, 2009),
and will occupy about seven acres at the Orange Country Fair
Ground in Costa Mesa, California. The entrance fee will be
seven dollars and the organizers expect it to draw a minimum
of 100,000 people. According to the organizers, the festival
would be one of the largest outreach efforts ever in the
United States regarding Anatolian Culture.

3. As taken from its website, the Pacifica Institute is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2003 by the
"Turkish American community of California." The Pacifica
Institute,s mission is to "promote cross-cultural awareness,
in order to attain peace and diversity with our neighbors,
help establish a better society where individuals love,
respect, and accept each other as they are." Its vision is "a
community in which people from all walks of life interact
with each other and cooperate to serve their communities,
thereby strengthening civil society and promoting the
development of human values." The website contains
information on the Whirling Dervishes and the poet Rumi,
figures strongly identified with Sufi Islam. The organizers
readily acknowledged being affiliated with the Gulen Movement.

4. Barlas explained that he initiated the meeting to alert
the Consulate to the festival (invitations will be extended
to the Consul General and Ambassador) and to inform that
approximately 120 Turkish artists, support staff and
construction workers will be applying for visas. According to
Barlas, he has an appointment with Turkish President Gul to
present the festival,s promotional materials (a DVD and
brochure, developed by Vural) and to receive Gul's comments
on their planned outreach to the Armenian government. Barlas
explained that he spoke to Gul during Gul's January visit to
Washington. According to Barlas, Gul reacted favorably and
supported the idea of the festival. Barlas has also presented
festival materials to Armenian associations in the Los
Angeles area and hopes to present them to the Consul General
of Armenia in Los Angeles.

5. Comment. Although the organizers said that this was the
largest such event they had ever attempted, they claimed to
have substantial experience with similar events. The
promotional materials provided were professionally prepared,
and the organizers responded satisfactorily to all of the
questions we raised about event preparations. End comment.
WIENER

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