Support Grows for Armenian Genocide Resolution

WASHINGTON–Bi-partisan support for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106, continues to grow, with new cosponsors joining this measure over the past week from Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, and Texas, reported the Armenian National Committee of America. Over the past week, more than a dozen new US Representatives have cosponsored the resolution, among them: Diana DeGette (D-CO), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Gene Green (D-TX), Jane Harman (D-CA), Henry "Hank" Johnson (D-GA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), James Walsh (R-NY), and David Wu (D-OR). All told, the more than 175 cosponsors for the anti-genocide measure have come from thirty-four states and the District of Columbia. Speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference last month, Congressmen Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) joined together in announcing the introduction of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Joining with the four legislators as original cosponsors of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106) were Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), both strong supporters of Armenian Genocide recognition as well as senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the influential panel which will first consider this legislation prior to a vote on the House floor. The resolution is identical to legislation introduced in the previous session of Congress, which was overwhelmingly approved in the International Relations Committee (now called the Foreign Affairs Committee), only to be blocked from final passage by the House leadership. In a related matter, Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) this week reintroduced legislation honoring the memory of outspoken slain journalist Hrant Dink, calling on Turkey to repeal Article 301 of its penal code, an anti-free speech law under which Dink was prosecuted and convicted for "insulting Turkishness". This new resolution is similar to H.Res.102, which the New York legislator introduced on January 29th, except that the revised text, H.Res.155, removes mention of the Armenian Genocide. "We appreciate Congressman’s Crowley’s intentions in honoring Hrant Dink’s memory, but are troubled by the removal of any mention of the Armenian Genocide in his revised and newly reintroduced legislation," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "As Americans, we neither accurately nor appropriately pay tribute to Hrant Dink’s proud legacy if we do not openly and honestly honor his struggle – witnessed by the entire world – to end Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, a struggle for which he paid the ultimate price."The circumstances surrounding this resolution’s reintroduction – namely the continued heavy-handed pressure by the Turkish government against any mention of the Armenian Genocide — clearly speak to the pressing need for the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution," added Hamparian. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) introduced similar legislation in the Senate on February 1st. His measure refers to the criminal prosecution Dink faced because of his speech on the Armenian Genocide. Hrant Dink, editor of the bilingual Armenian/Turkish "Agos" newspaper, was gunned down outside his office in Istanbul on January 19th – sparking worldwide protests and renewed scrutiny of Turkey’s repression of free speech and international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial. In another related development, Rep. Frank Pallone, in a February 13 statement on the House floor, condemned Turkish government threats to cut off US supply routes to American troops serving in Iraq if the Armenian Genocide legislation is even considered by Congress. Rep. Pallone stressed that, "such a brazen threat to interfere in US military operations is absolutely unacceptable. I am outraged that the Turkish government would put the lives of soldiers at risk in the pursuit of its desperate campaign to deny the systematic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenia’s. This extremist behavior is known as blackmail and it should be publicly and forcefully rejected as such. Clearly, Turkey is no friend of the US"

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