Welcomes Caucus Leadership Initiative and Urges Members to Sign Letter to President Trump
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Co-Chairs wrote to their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to sign a letter to President Donald Trump to affirm the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), David Valadao (R-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Trott (R-MI) and Vice-Chairs Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) are urging the White House to honor the United States’ historic leadership in defending human rights and to properly characterize the events of 1915 as a genocide in this year’s presidential statement on April 24th.
“Since the start of the 115th Congress, the Armenian Assembly already has more new members and State Chairs taking on the crucial role of contacting their local governments and voicing their concerns. The Armenian-American community is energized to support the Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs who are reaching out to President Trump, and we encourage everyone to keep this momentum going,” Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian stated. “The Armenian Assembly welcomes the bipartisan letter written by the Armenian Caucus leadership calling on their colleagues to urge this Administration to affirm the Armenian Genocide and the proud chapter in U.S. history in helping to save the survivors. We urge our State Chairs and activists across the country to take action and contact their Members of Congress about the importance of signing this letter to the President.”
In the “Dear Colleague” letter, the Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs recalled America’s humanitarian intervention: “Among the proudest chapters in our shared history is America’s remarkable record of protesting the Genocide and in caring for the survivors of this crime.” The letter highlighted the Near East Relief, a Congressionally chartered humanitarian organization which raised $116 million (over $2.5 billion in 2017 dollars) to aid the victims of the Ottoman Empire’s mass murder of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, and other persecuted peoples.
Additionally, the letter states: “In leading an honest and accurate American remembrance of this known case of genocide, you will stand with President Reagan, who recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1981, and the Eisenhower Administration, which did the same in a 1951 submission to the International Court of Justice.”
President Ronald Reagan squarely acknowledged the Armenian Genocide stating that “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it – and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples – the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”
“During his presidential campaign, President Trump called out Turkey for conducting business with ISIS, and we urge the President to continue to stand strong when it comes to affirming this historical truth,” the Assembly Co-Chairs added.
As reported by Breitbart News, a news outlet formerly managed by President Trump’s Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, Steve Bannon, President Trump stated that the Turkish government “looks like they’re on the side of ISIS more or less based on the oil.” In separate articles, Breitbart News detailed historical facts of the Armenian Genocide, describing the genocide as “a story conveniently ignored by the media and forgotten by world governments similarly ignoring atrocities by Muslims against Christians the world over.”
Members of the Turkish Parliament are currently being silenced for being honest and commemorating the Armenian Genocide. Garo Paylan, a parliamentarian of Armenian origin, was suspended last month for referring to the Armenian Genocide.
“By affirming the Armenian Genocide in this year’s presidential statement, President Trump will stand up for minorities and victims everywhere who do not have basic human rights and the freedom of speech that America proudly upholds. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to push Turkey to a dangerous authoritarian regime rather than a democratic nation and ally to the U.S.,” Barsamian and Krikorian said.
Last night, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn resigned from his post as President Trump’s National Security Advisor, leaving one less apologist for Turkey in the U.S. government. President Trump made it clear that he does not want any government officials lobbying for foreign governments. Flynn was previously linked to Turkish lobbying, in addition to writing an op-ed in The Hill on Election Day in support of the Turkish government.
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 non-partisan, 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.