Turkish President Turgut Ozal will speak today at Dunlop Auditorium as part of the Wharton School's annual lecture series. But members of two student groups -- the Greek Club and the Armenian Club -- have pledged to hold separate protests at his campus appearances. Ozal, who has been Turkey's President since 1989, has a full itinerary that includes meetings with members of both the U.S. and Turkish press, a discussion with Wharton faculty members and a dinner with administrators, faculty and other invited guests. Ozal met with President Bush at Camp David this weekend, where the two leaders discussed the post-war Middle East and U.S. Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, helped the U.S. coalition during the Persian Gulf War by enforcing United Nations sanctions, sending troops to its border with Iraq, and allowing U.S. planes to use one of its air bases. President Sheldon Hackney will confer an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University to Ozal prior to his delivery of Wharton's annual Julius Steinberg Memorial Lecture on economic and social issues. Students opposed to his visit said they have varying reasons to protest his appearance on campus. Greek students said yesterday they will protest Turkey's occupation of Northern Cyprus and will call for Ozal to pull troops out of the island nation. They also criticized the University, saying that by honoring Ozal, the University is rewarding him for Turkey's occupation. "Freeing the territory Turkey occupies. . . is a test to see if Turkey is ready to join the community of civilized nations," said Engineering sophomore Alex Haidas, president of the Greek Club. Armenian students said they will demonstrate against Turkey's refusal "to recognize the planned genocide [of Armenians in 1915]." Wharton senior Ramzig Arzoumanian, a spokesperson for the Armenian Club, said last night that his group will be handing out flyers in front of the Nursing Education Building during the lecture. He added that he is upset at Wharton's "hypocrisy" in honoring the Turkish leader. Turkish students, however, said they are not surprised that there will be protests but said that they are not justified. "I am glad that he is coming, so that everyone can meet him," said one Turkish graduate student. "Maybe [the groups] will be able to see what Turkey's stance is regarding these issues." Ozal, who graduated from the Istanbul Technical University with a master's degree in electrical engineering, was once Deputy Director General of Turkey's State Electrical Authority. From 1967 to 1971, he was under-secretary of the State Planning Organization. In that position he helped to develop the Turkish economy. In the early 70s, he worked as an advisor to the World Bank. In 1983, after founding the Motherland Party and winning a majority in that year's general elections, Ozal became Turkey's prime minister until his election to the presidency.Comments powered by Disqus
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