Turkish Caucus Members Defeated in Primaries

Armenian Assembly Renews Call for Members of Congress to Withdraw from Turkish and Azerbaijani Caucuses, Urging Aid to Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the last two
weeks, Turkish Caucus Members, Representatives Randy Forbes (R-VA) and Renee
Ellmers (R-NC), were defeated in their respective primaries, the Armenian
Assembly of America (Assembly) reported. Their defeat follows that of Turkish
Caucus Member Rep.
Donna Edwards
(D-MD), who according to news accounts, received over $26,000
from the Turkish lobby. Both Reps. Edward
and Ellmers participated in Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) funded trips to

Also, the House Ethics
Committee announced this month that it is halting all privately sponsored
junkets to Turkey. The ban comes as a result of the Office of Congressional
Ethics (OCE) investigation that
discovered a network of Turkic-American nonprofit groups based in the U.S. lied
about the true source of funding for the overseas trips. The OCE called
into question over 100 trips sponsored by such entities. Members turned
over thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts given on these trips such as jade
earrings, tea sets, silk scarves, woven rugs, and more to the General Services
Administration (GSA).

These questionable
junkets have raised troubling concerns, especially in light of the war in April
launched by Azerbaijan with Turkish support against Armenia and Nagorno
Karabakh. With reports of innocent civilians murdered, mutilated, and beheaded,
the Assembly sent a letter
urging Members of the Turkish and Azeri Caucuses to withdraw their support.

“Whatever your
prior reasons for standing in solidarity with the Azerbaijani and Turkish
regimes, we cannot imagine that any American would continue to do so in the
face of recent events,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van
Krikorian said at that time. “To do so would condone such

The Assembly continues
to call on Members of Congress to withdraw
from the Turkish and Azeri Caucuses in response to the hostility. Furthermore,
with the House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee scheduled to
consider the Fiscal Year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
tomorrow, the Assembly renews its 9
key priorities
. This includes aid to Nagorno Karabakh, which is
especially needed to help Karabakh rebuild homes destroyed in the April War
launched by Azerbaijan, as well as additional aid to Armenia to assist with the
influx of refugees from Syria. To watch the mark-up live tomorrow at 10:30am, click here or the
video below.

Established in 1972, the
Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide
organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues.
The Assembly is a 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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