WASHINGTON, D.C.–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is working with a senior Republican legislator on strategies that would reduce United States’ reliance on a Turkey airbase. Executive Director of the ANCA Aram Hamparian recently met with Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The two discussed several important issues including the need for full recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the potential to transfer functions from Turkey’s Incirlik military base.
“As Armenians know all too well, Turkey has long leveraged this base to hold America hostage,” said Hamparian. “Diversifying our forward positioning will lessen the leverage of Turkey’s increasingly hostile Erdogan government, broadening America’s range of action across a broad array of regional, security, and humanitarian priorities – among them, of course, full and formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.”
In January this year, thousands of pro-Armenian activists responded to an ANCA action alert and sent over 15-thousand messages to federal officials on Capitol Hill in support of Armenian-American policy priorities. The nationwide campaign included requests to the President and Congress to keep U.S. arms and technology out of the hands of foreign regimes that will use them for offensive purposes. In the interest of regional security, nuclear safety, and nonproliferation, the ANCA said the U.S should seriously re-evaluate the stationing of its nuclear arms at Turkey’s Incirlik airbase.
Congressman Nunes has a long record in support of issues of special concern to Armenian Americans in California’s Central Valley and across America. He has been an ardent advocate of U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide, having co-sponsoring related legislation in every term since his election to office in 2002. He has consistently called on both Democrat and Republican U.S. presidents for proper commemoration of the crime in their April 24th annual remembrance statements. He also visited the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan in 2012.
Mr. Nunes has been equally outspoken on Artsakh safety and security, supporting the implementation of the Royce—Engel peace proposals. When the four-day Azerbaijani attack on Artsakh began in April 2016, Nunes cautioned, “The clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh risk escalating into a dangerous, wider war. The ceasefire must be scrupulously observed, while Azerbaijan needs to implement widely-supported peacekeeping measures along the line of contact, including a withdrawal of snipers and an expanded role for the OSCE.” In 2018, he was one of only two Republicans calling for expanded aid to Armenia and Artsakh for Fiscal Year 2019.
In May 2017, Congressman Nunes condemned the Erdogan-ordered attacks on peaceful protesters in Washington, DC, stating “Erdogan is busy turning his own country into an authoritarian state, but he needs to know that his thugs are not welcome here and that there will be consequences for this attack.”