Bipartisan Letter Urges President to Reject Turkey’s Gag-Rule
WASHINGTON—On April 10, the Chairmen and Ranking Members on both the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees joined with the leadership of the Armenian Caucus and more than eighty of their U.S. House colleagues in calling upon President Trump to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide in his April 24th White House statement, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
In a bipartisan letter calling upon the President to “appropriately mark April 24th as a day of American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” signatories noted that, “by commemorating the Armenian Genocide, we renew our commitment to prevent future atrocities.”
“We join with Members of Congress in calling upon President Trump to reject Turkey’s gag rule and embrace an honest American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “It’s long past time for America to stop outsourcing our national policy on the Armenian Genocide to Recep Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian and anti-American regime.”
Joining Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Dave Trott (R-Mich.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Vice-Chairs Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) are Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the Democratic Caucus; Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus; Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa; Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific; Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere; Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee; Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee; Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee; Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee; Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Ranking Member of the Budget Committee; Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission; and Representatives Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Dave Brat (R-Va.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Luis Correa (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebr.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill/), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Norma Torres (D-Calif.), and Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.).
In calling upon President Trump to properly mark April 24th, the signatories highlighted the U.S. record of past recognition, including “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.” These actions, as well as resolutions by the House of Representatives in 1975 (H.J.R.148) and 1984 (H.J.R.247), while clearly constituting U.S. recognition, just as clearly did not translate into either consistent official annual Armenian Genocide commemorations or sustained U.S. pressure on Turkey to end its denials of this crime.
The letter specifically cites Christian populations targeted by the Ottoman Empire’s genocidal campaign, including “Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, and other persecuted peoples.” The full text of the letter is provided below.
On March 22, Rep. Trott was joined by Rep. Adam Schiff and the Congressional Armenian Caucus leadership in introducing a bipartisan anti-genocide resolution (H.Res.220) calling on the United States to apply the lessons of the Armenian Genocide in seeking to prevent modern day atrocities across the Middle East. That measure stresses that “proper commemoration and consistent condemnation of the Armenian Genocide will strengthen our international standing in preventing modern day genocides,” and, building upon the 2016 official U.S. designation of an ISIS genocide against Middle East minorities, specifically calls for the following: “[T]he United States, in seeking to prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against Christians, Yezidis, Muslims, Kurds, and other vulnerable religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East, should draw upon relevant lessons of the United States Government, civil society, and humanitarian response to the Armenian Genocide, Seyfo, and the broader genocidal campaign by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Greeks, Pontians and other Christians upon their biblical era homelands.”
Below is the Congressional letter to President Trump regarding the Armenian Genocide.
Dear Mr. President,
We are writing to encourage you to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide on April 24th.
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. The House of Representatives has also commemorated the Armenian Genocide, through HJR148 in 1975 and HJR247 in 1984.
Armenia remains deeply committed to expanding the bonds of friendship that have long connected the American and Armenian peoples. 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 United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1915, Henry Morgenthau, helped to chronicle the brutal extermination of the Armenian people through a campaign of mass murder and violent expulsion.
In the years after the genocide, Ambassador Morgenthau and other concerned Americans launched 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. The generosity of the American people saved countless lives and helped to ensure the continued survival of the Armenian culture.
The Armenian Genocide continues to stand as an important reminder that crimes against humanity must not go without recognition and condemnation. Through recognition of the Armenian Genocide we pay tribute to the perseverance and determination of those who survived, as well as to the Americans of Armenian descent who have helped strengthen our country. It is our duty to honor those contributions with an honest statement of history recognizing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians as the 20th century’s first genocide. By commemorating the Armenian Genocide, we renew our commitment to prevent future atrocities.
In that spirit of honoring the victims and redoubling our commitment to prevent genocide, we ask you to appropriately mark April 24th as a day of American remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
Thank you for taking our views into consideration.