House Members Urge Pres. Bush to Raise Serious Issues with Turkey’s Prime Minister

Blockade of Armenia–anti-American sentiment and anti-Semitism among key issues discussed in Congressional letters to Pres. Bush

WASHINGTON–DC (ANCA)–In the days leading up to Wednesday’s meeting between Pres. Bush and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan–members of the US House of Representatives raised serious concerns about Turkey’s 12-year blockade of Armenia–growing anti-Americanism–and anti- Semitism.

In a June 3 letter–Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) were joined by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA) in urging Pres. Bush and Secretary of State Rice to "again call upon Turkey to comply with your Administration’s long-standing position that in order to restore economic–political–and cultural links with Armenia–Turkey should immediately lift its ongoing blockade with Armenia."

The House members detailed the high cost of Turkey’s blockade on Armenia’s struggling economy. "A recent State Department report estimated that the blockade is inflating Armenia’s transportation costs by 30-35%–thereby stifling its trade and economy," noted the letter. "This report also stated that opening the border would catalyze commercial opportunities for Turkey and Armenia in the fields of energy–trade and tourism–valued at $1 billion per year."

The letter concludes that "if there is to be a resolution of conflicts in the region and a reduction of tensions along borders–it is essential that Turkey move forthwith to lift this destructive blockade."

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