Schiff Presses Erdogan, Gul on Genocide, Kessab at Meeting in Ankara

Rep. Adam Schiff


Schiff: “Fact That Some Armenians Escaped Annihilation Makes It No Less a Genocide”

WASHINGTON—As part of a Congressional Delegation to the Middle East and Asia focused on terrorism, homeland security and the war in Syria, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) had separate meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and other Turkish high government officials.

In his meeting with the Prime Minister, Schiff challenged the notion expressed by Erdogan in a recent interview that because there are Armenian survivors still living in Turkey, there could have been no genocide. This is the equivalent, Schiff argued, of saying that because some Jews in Europe escaped death, there was no Holocaust. Schiff also questioned whether it was possible to have the open discourse in Turkey about the events of 1915-1923 that Erdogan called for in his statement of April 23rd, if Turkish professors, historians, journalists and ordinary citizens still faced demotion, intimidation, potential prosecution or violence for expressing the conviction that the Armenian Genocide is a historic fact.

In his meeting with President Gul, Schiff said that he wanted to speak for the many tens of thousands of his constituents of Armenian descent who may never get the chance to address the President directly.

“You will not find one of my 80,000 Armenian constituents untouched by the Genocide,” he said. “Each of them has lost a parent or grandparent, their cousins, brothers or sisters, or their entire family. Their pain is real, their wounds are open, this is no distant relic of the past. To say, as you and the Prime Minister have, that yes, Armenians suffered but so too did Turks during World War I, is akin to saying that the Germans also suffered during World War II. It is true that many German civilians died, many noncombatants, but that does not negate the Holocaust any more than the fact that many Turks died could negate the Genocide. To propose, as you have, that a historic commission be established to ascertain the facts of the Genocide is not unlike suggesting that a commission needs to be established to determine whether the Holocaust took place.”

Schiff also raised the issue of Kessab, and his concern over the forced evacuation of the historic Armenian community there and the wellbeing of those residents who are now refugees in Turkey. He also urged Turkey to decouple the blockade of Armenia from resolution of the issues concerning Nagorno Karabakh, so that we can bring about an end to Armenia’s economic isolation and a normalization of trade relations.

“We want to commend Congressman Schiff for confronting Turkey’s leaders over their denial of truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We are especially appreciative of his leadership in carrying such a compelling moral message from his California constituents directly to the Prime Minister and President of the Turkish Republic.”

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8 Comments

  1. Hratch said:

    Why no report to the reaction or answers by the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and other Turkish high government officials?

  2. Armenian said:

    Thank you, Congressman for standing up for what’s right. Now if only you could convince the group-thinkers at the State Department to change their approach, it would be much more effective.

  3. Hratch Karamanoukian MD said:

    Adam Schiff is a genius … “To say, as you and the Prime Minister have, that yes, Armenians suffered but so too did Turks during World War I, is akin to saying that the Germans also suffered during World War II. It is true that many German civilians died, many noncombatants, but that does not negate the Holocaust any more than the fact that many Turks died could negate the Genocide. To propose, as you have, that a historic commission be established to ascertain the facts of the Genocide is not unlike suggesting that a commission needs to be established to determine whether the Holocaust took place.”

  4. Hilda Avedissian-Tokatli said:

    On behalf of so many Armenians thank you Rep. Adam Schiff, for your honesty and respect to the 1.5 million Armenians who died on the hands of the Ottomans, and your sincere concern for the Armenians in Kessab. People like you are what make our country great. May God bless you!
    Hilda Avedissian-Tokatli
    Belmont, MA

  5. gaytzag palandjian said:

    If soap can change the colour of red American and/or African Americans then great Turkey *with these present leaders and Gov. t will change stance.Otherwise very important SANCTIONS ought to be placed on great Turkey,in order that things change in their system

  6. Danoog said:

    Schiff is a good man. Hard to find a Democrat who actually has moral convictions.

  7. Nelly said:

    Thank you for your great words and convictions. The USA can do much in solving this great problem. American people is for justice, only the government should do its final step to make the turks understand that this struggle between our two nations, which has lasted for a century, will still be continued for many centuries until the Turkish government accepts the Genocide realized by their anscestors and returns the historical lands and the property of Armenians to their owners – to Armenia and Armenian people. This will put an end to our endless struggle and both nations will live, work and create side by side as neighbours – peacefully and in a very short time this area will turn to a real paradize as it is mentioned in the BIBLE – “PARADIZE IS BETWEEN THE BIBLIC RIVERS EUPHRATES AND TIGRIS” which are the two longest rivers of HISTORICAL ARMENIA. (METS HAYQ=GTREAT ARMENIA).

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