NORA Criticizes Clinton’s Failure to Raise Turkey’s Genocide Denial During Visit to Istanbul

WASHINGTON–President Bill Clinton–during direct talks this week with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel at the Istanbul Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–failed to call upon Turkey to either end its denial of the Armenian Genocide or to lift its illegal blockade of US humanitarian aid to Armenia.

President Clinton–in his first major address on US-Turkish relations–did not mention Turkey’s blockade of US government relief aid to Armenia. He declined–as well–to note the Turkish government’s campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide. President Clinton’s silence on these issues extended throughout all his official statemen’s and the remarks he offered during his joint press conference on November 15 with Demirel. Similarly–they were not addressed during briefings by National Security Advisor Sandy Berger or in the several background briefings held by unnamed Administration officials.

"Bill Clinton’s failure to address Turkey’s denial of the Genocide and his refusal to call for Turkey to lift its blockade only underscore the Clinton/Gore White House’s indifference to the values and priorities of Armenian American voters," said NORA board member Ara Bedrosian. "I think we’ll see the results of this indifference at the ballot box next November."

Commenting on President Clinton’s praise for Turkey’s ‘progress’ on human rights–Bedrosian added that–"It is quite simply the height of hypocrisy for Clinton to talk about Turkey’s ‘impressive momentum’ toward democracy precisely at the same time that Turkish security forces are beating and imprisoning citizens peacefully demonstrating right outside the building in which he is speaking. Even a yellow dog Democrat would have a hard time swallowing that."

More significantly–Armenia was not mentioned in either of the two White House fact sheets distributed in connection with the OSCE summit: "Caspian Energy Pipelines [690]" and "Background on US Caspian Energy Policy [930]." These two documen’s outline official US policy toward the developmen’s of the region’s energy resources–most notably the proposed Baku-Ceyhan oil and Trans-Caspian gas pipelines.

NORA works to expand the Republican Party’s outreach into the Armenian American community and to encourage Armenia’s–at the local–state–and national levels–to become involved in shaping and advancing the Republican agenda. Armenian American Republicans interested in learning more about the National Organization of Republican Armenia’s or participating in its activities are encouraged to call (202) 232-5151–or write to 1745 Pennsylvania Ave.–NW–Suite 126–Washington–DC 20006. Contact NORA via the internet–at nora_dc@earthlink.net.

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