Senator Kerry Calls on President Bush to Lift Turkish Blockade

ARLINGTON (AADLC)–Democratic Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry joined Senator Barbara Boxer and four other Senate colleagues on Tuesday–in calling on President Bush to press the visiting Prime Minister of Turkey to lift his nation’s illegal blockade of Armenia.

The Senate letter stressed the damage that Turkey’s blockade inflicts on Armenia. In addition to Sen. Kerry and Sen. Boxer–Democrats Russell Feingold–Jon Corzine–and Paul Sarbanes–and from across the aisle–George Allen–also signed on

"Despite providing over eight billion dollars in American loan guarantees and US backing for over thirty-two billion dollars in World Bank financial support–the Bush Administration has not applied any meaningful pressure on Turkey to end its illegal blockade of Armenia," said AADLC representative Tsoghig Margossian–who has been volunteering at the Kerry Headquarters in Washington–DC. For a review of the Bush Administration’s record of opposition to a broad range of issues concerning Armenian Americans–visit:http://www.aadlc.org.

Senator Kerry has an extensive record of Senate leadership on issues of importance to Armenian Americans–including energetic efforts for US recognition of the Armenian Genocide–increased aid to trade for Armenia–a lasting and equitable settlement of the Karabagh conflict–and pressure on Turkey and Azerbaijan to lift their illegal blockades of the Armenian people. In 1991–he was the lead Senate sponsor of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act–and has consistently sponsored–spoken for–and voted in favor of Armenian Genocide resolutions.

Meeting with ANCA-WR Government Relations Director Ardashes Kassakhian and ANC activist Mihran Toumajan last September–the Senator acknowledged the support of many Armenian Americans during his political career. On the issue of Senate Resolution 164–which specifically references the Armenian Genocide–the Senator promised continued advocacy. "It is called justice–and we will get there together," pledged Senator Kerry. "I was incensed when the Turkish lobby and its allies disrupted the bill in the Senate before," Kerry added. Through the first three quarters of 2003–Senator Kerry led the other Democratic candidates in campaign fundraising coming from Armenian Americans.

Armenian American supporters of John Kerry canvassed and phone-banked New Hampshire Armenian American households over the past several days in support of his candidacy. Last week–the AADLC sent mailers to over 2,000 Armenian American families outlining the positions of the major Democratic candidates on the Armenian Genocide. The mailer included the following statement by Senator Kerry:

"Ignoring the Armenian genocide–extraordinary evidence of man’s capacity for inhumanity–can open a Pandora’s box of selective morality a virtual guarantee that similar tragedy will touch other people in the future. Selective morality only leads to selective genocide. We must never ignore the persecution and slaughter of any people."

First elected in 1984–Sen. Kerry is currently serving a fourth term in the US Senate–where he represents one of the largest Armenian American communities. He serves on the Senate Finance Committee–the Committee on Commerce–Science and Transportation–the Committee on Foreign Relations–and the Subcommittee on Central Asia and South Caucasus. He is the ranking member on the Committee for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

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