WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) continues to rally support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) stated that they expected consideration of H.Res. 296, the Armenian Genocide Resolution, to take place.
In an interview with NPR, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Engel noted that in addition to sanctioning Turkey for its actions in Northern Syria, a bill on the Armenian Genocide was also under consideration.
“So we’re going to have a Turkey sanctions bill and we’re going to have an Armenian Genocide bill. Both of which I’m sure the Government of Turkey is not happy with, but then again we’re not happy with the Government of Turkey,” Chairman Engel said.
In a Helsinki Commission hearing this afternoon, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Pallone also indicated that the Armenian Genocide resolution was “very likely” to be considered next week.
“I know that might not seem to be the topic today, but I think it’s also something that needs to be done in order to talk about the terrible history that Armenians faced over a hundred years ago,” Pallone stated.
This past week, Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter urging support of the resolution, as did Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) calling for its immediate passage.
H.Res. 296 was introduced this April by Reps. Schiff and Bilirakis along with Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter King (R-NY), and Jackie Speier (D-CA), and has 112 co-sponsors to date. During the Assembly’s 2019 National Advocacy Conference last month, Armenian Americans from across the U.S. met with Members of Congress and urged its adoption.
Congress has also been calling out President Erdogan for his violence against the Kurds and Christian minorities in northern Syria this month, and Members have drawn parallels between the current Turkish government’s actions and the Ottoman Empire’s atrocities against Armenians and other minority populations in 1915.
Albio Sires (D-NJ) stated: “These actions are particularly concerning given Turkey’s historical precedent of eliminating minority groups that it perceives as a threat, as it did during the Armenian Genocide.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) said: “100 years ago, 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in what is now Turkey. For decades, the US has refused to officially acknowledge that first modern genocide out of fear of alienating Turkey. Clearly, it’s past time we stop worrying about Turkey’s feelings & pass H.Res. 296.”
“Not only should we have sanctions against Turkey. It’s also time that we formally recognize the Armenian genocide,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said on CNN.
“This latest assault on vulnerable ethnic groups demonstrates the need for Congress to unequivocally affirm the Armenian Genocide and adopt the resolutions pending in the House and Senate,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said. “In order to prevent future genocides, we must not allow Turkey to continue to export its denial of the genocide and try to erase America’s role in helping save the survivors,” he added.
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(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.