Turkish government representatives say a proposed Armenian Genocide Memorial "deeply offends" the Turkish people and told city officials that use of the term genocide is one of legitimate scholarly debate.
A visit by then-Turkish Deputy Consul General Arif Celik on Aug. 9 about a proposed Armenian monument in Memorial Park, which would be paid for with private funds, has prompted local Armenians to condemn Turkish meddling in city politics.
"This is completely against our city values, that a foreign government comes and interferes in our local business," said Khatchik "Chris" Chahinian, chairman of the Pasadena-based Armenian Community Coalition.
"This is not an Ankara suburb. Pasadena, it's an American city ... and Pasadena has been home to Armenians for more than 120 years."
From 1915 through 1923 as many as 1.5 million Armenians were slain in what was then the Ottoman Empire. California is among more than 40 states that formally recognizes the Armenian Genocide.