HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – The Armenian National Committee of America-Orange County chapter (ANCA-OC) recently commended Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) for his principled leadership in calling national attention and securing broad bi-partisan condemnation of the May 16 brutal beating of peaceful protesters by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security forces in Washington.
During a June 16 meeting, Rep. Rohrabacher, who serves as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, told ANCA-OC members that, “The government of Turkey is proving itself to be not just a threat to Armenians, but a threat to freedom loving people everywhere. President Erdogan is a tyrant and radical Islamist. It’s time for the United States to give serious consideration to adjusting our priorities and alliances in that part of the world.”
Immediately after the attack on protesters, ordered by Turkish President Erdogan and carried out just feet in front of him, Rep. Rohrabacher held public hearings, inviting representatives of the Kurdish, Yezidi and Armenian communities to share their eyewitness accounts of the assault. ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, whose video footage of the attacks was shown by major media outlets throughout the world, offered powerful testimony during the hearing.
During the House Foreign Affairs Committee consideration of H.Res.354, condemning the Turkish attacks and calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice, Congressman Rohrabacher was adamant. “He [Erdogan] is not welcome in this country if he is going to think that he can attack Americans for expressing their opposition to his policies.”
Following unanimous committee passage, the resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 397-0. US law enforcement has since arrested two Turkish Americans in connection with the attacks and issued arrest warrants for 12 members of Erdogan’s security detail, as well as two Turkish Canadian citizens.
The ANCA-OC’s open and frank conversation with Congressman Rohrabacher also focused on H.Res.220, the Armenian Genocide Prevention Resolution, Armenia and Artsakh’s difficult geo-political challenges, Turkey’s destabilizing role in Syria and the region, the key contributions of the Kurdish community, as well as other issues important to the Armenian-American community in the U.S. and specifically in Orange County.
ANCA-OC leaders also urged the Congressman to oppose a pending sale of U.S. semi-automatic guns to Turkey, targeted for use by Erdogan’s security detail.
The productive meeting concluded with ANCA-OC and Congressman Rohrabacher agreeing to continue working together in Washington and locally in Orange County.