ANCA Chairman Calls on President Bush to Speak With Moral Clarity on Armenian Genocide

"The time has come–Mr. President–for our government to end all forms of complicity in Turkey’s morally bankrupt campaign of genocide denial." –ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian

WASHINGTON–DC–Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken Hachikian expressed disappointment on Wednesday with President Bush’s April 24 statement–asking for a meeting to discuss this matter and the range of issues of concern to the Armenian American community.

While thanking President Bush for standing with Armenia’s in "remembering the tragic events of April 24th," Hachikian expressed concern that the President–again–retreated from his February–2000 campaign pledge to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide.

"Your refusal to honor this pledge–and the ongoing opposition of your Administration to Armenian Genocide legislation before Congress–in our view–represent failures of American moral leadership–and reflect a flawed and shortsighted approach to our nation’s long-term interest in peace and stability in the Caucasus and Middle East," explained Hachikian.

Commenting on the President’s indirect reference to the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission–Hachikian noted–"The only sound basis for improved Armenian-Turkish relations remains Turkey’s open acknowledgement of its genocidal crime and full acceptance of its responsibilities to the Armenian nation. In this regard–we are reminded of how Germany came to terms with the Holocaust and–more recently–of the comprehensive report prepared by the Israeli government setting the material damage to the Jewish people during the Holocaust at between $240 billion to $330 billion."

Hachikian concluded the May 3 letter urging President Bush to "to speak with moral clarity on the Armenian Genocide–to support Armenian Genocide legislation that will come before Congress–to pressure the Turkish government to acknowledge the truth–and to use the full influence of your office to work toward a just resolution–including full reparations and restitution–of this crime against the Armenian people."

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing–on behalf of Armenian Americans throughout the United States–to thank you for joining with our community in remembering the tragic events of April 24th–but also to express our profound disappointment with the content of your remarks on the day of this solemn remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.

We remain deeply troubled by your retreat from your promise–made in February 2000–to properly recognize the genocidal campaign against the Armenian people. By not using the proper term–genocide–your message failed to accurately communicate the moral–historical–and legal meaning of the crime committed against the Armenian people. Your refusal to honor this pledge–and the ongoing opposition of your Administration to Armenian Genocide legislation before Congress–in our view–represent failures of American moral leadership–and reflect a flawed and shortsighted approach to our nation’s long-term interest in peace and stability in the Caucasus and Middle East.

While we welcome your statement about looking forward to a promising future for Armenia–we must point out that Armenia’s future should not have to be built under threat from Turkey–an unrepentant perpetrator of genocide against the Armenian people. Very simply–the Republic of Armenia cannot be secure as long as Turkey continues to deny its crime against the Armenian nation.

We are troubled–as well–by your support for attempts–along the lines of the widely discredited Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission–that promote an artificial reconciliation–one with neither truth nor justice. Sadly–your mention of an anonymously authored report–which was not written by–but only facilitated through–the International Center for Transitional Justice–lends credence to those seeking to derail progress toward Genocide recognition–while abetting those who want to help Turkey avoid the modern-day consequences of this crime. The only sound basis for improved Armenian-Turkish relations remains Turkey’s open acknowledgement of its genocidal crime and full acceptance of its responsibilities to the Armenian nation. In this regard–we are reminded of how Germany came to terms with the Holocaust and–more recently–of the comprehensive report prepared by the Israeli government setting the material damage to the Jewish people during the Holocaust at between $240 billion to $330 billion.

The time has come–Mr. President–for our government to end all forms of complicity in Turkey’s morally bankrupt campaign of genocide denial. As such–we respectfully call upon you to speak with moral clarity on the Armenian Genocide–to support Armenian Genocide legislation that will come before Congress–to pressure the Turkish government to acknowledge the truth–and to use the full influence of your office to work toward a just resolution – including full reparations and restitution – of this crime against the Armenian people. Given your emphasis on morality and speaking the truth–how can you possibly do otherwise?

In closing–I would like to note that we continue to pay special attention to your Administration’s response to the historically accurate description of the Armenian Genocide by the US Ambassador to Armenia–John Marshall Evans. If history has taught us anything–it is that those who speak the truth should be encouraged–not silenced.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this matter and address the full range of issues of concern to Armenian Americans. Sincerely yours,

Authors

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