U.S. Legislators Respond to Turkish Genocide Denial and Azeri Aggression

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress convened to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide earlier this week, Armenian Caucus Members Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), along with Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal condemning a Turkish-paid Armenian Genocide denial advertisement included in its April 20th print edition.

The letter said in part: “We call on you to apologize for your decision to publish this advertisement and ask that you pledge to not publish future advertisements that aim to justify, diminish, or erase the tragedies of the past. While in a statement your newspaper defended the decision, claiming you accept a ‘wide range of advertisements, including those with provocative viewpoints,’ fabricating the events of the past is not a viewpoint – it is a lie. It has been 101 years since the Genocide – we must look to remember and heal from the tragedies of the past, not justify them.”

In addition to the advertisement in the Wall Street Journal and other publications, genocide denial groups also took to the skies using GEICO Skytypers to spread their hate-speech. Last week, Assembly Florida Chair Arsine Kaloustian designed a campaign to combat this denial, and on April 25 GEICO Skytypers issued a formal apology promising to “not get involved in promotional advertising for politically motivated campaigns.”

Also this week, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) strongly condemned the April 2-5 Turkish-supported Azerbaijani military attack against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Armenia. His article, entitled “US should hold Azerbaijan accountable,” appeared in The Hill newspaper. Senator Kirk’s column follows statements by Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Robert Dold (R-IL) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA) condemning Azerbaijan.

“The time has come for Azerbaijan to face consequences from the United States and the international community for its blatant military aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR),” Senator Kirk wrote. “With no system to referee the cease-fire, Azerbaijan has become increasingly belligerent while facing no consequences for its violations. This must change.”

“Confronting genocide denial and Azerbaijani aggression is of paramount importance,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “Printing ads promoting a foreign government’s denial of an indisputable crime against humanity is out of step with American values and is simply wrong. We urge more Members of Congress to speak out against genocide denial and to also hold Azerbaijan accountable for its actions,” Ardouny 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 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

Kirk Calls on Administration to Recognize Armenian Massacres as Genocide

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On April 23, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) issued the following statement after the Administration failed to call the massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government a genocide:

“As we mark the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, I call on the Administration to recognize the murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 by Ottoman Turkey for what it was: genocide. Recognition of past genocides is crucial for preventing future genocides, so it is long past due to speak honestly about what happened to the Armenians.“

BACKGROUND

Senator Kirk joined Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to co-lead the introduction of S.Res.140, a bipartisan resolution which calls on the Administration for the following:

  • To remember and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2015
  • That the President work toward an equitable, constructive, stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relationship that includes the full acknowledgment by the Government of the Republic of Turkey of the facts about the Armenian Genocide
  • That the President ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide relating to the Armenian Genocide