Menendez Quashes Erdogan’s Effort to Stifle Congress

Sen. Robert Menendez urges Senate consideration of Armenian Genocide resolution on Nov. 13
Sen. Robert Menendez urges Senate consideration of Armenian Genocide resolution on Nov. 13

Sen. Robert Menendez urges Senate consideration of Armenian Genocide resolution on Nov. 13

In Trump’s Presence, Erdogan insults U.S. Lawmakers and Lashes Out at U.S. Policy While Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) Blocked Genocide Resolution Citing Erdogan

Moments after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey used the White House pulpit to chastise and criticize Congressional efforts to recognize the Armenian Genocide, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, took to the Senate floor to call for an immediate consideration by the Senate of the pending Armenian Genocide resolution.

During a press briefing by Erdogan and President Trump in the White House earlier Tuesday, the Turkish president criticized the U.S. House of Representatives for its October 29 passage of two resolutions—the affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and severe U.S. sanctions on Turkey. Erdogan, who is visiting Washington at Trump’s invitation, decided he could dictate U.S. policy and called on the Senate to not consider the bill.

Menendez, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee challenged the visiting Turkish leader’s decision to insert himself in American policy making and called on the senate to unanimously adopt S.Res. 150.

“I ask unanimous consent that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. RES. 150 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. I further ask that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered upon — considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate,” said Menendez.

Opposing the measure was South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who, in his remarks, cited his recent meeting with Erdogan as the reason to not pass the Senate resolution saying that in view of the current crisis in Syria, as well as discussions with Turkey on its purchase of Russian weapons, the Senate should not move forward with the affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) blocked the immediate Senate consideration of S.Res.150 – the Armenian Genocide Resolution

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) blocked the immediate Senate consideration of S.Res.150 – the Armenian Genocide Resolution

“My objection would not be to sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it. I just met with President Erdogan and President Trump about the problems we face in Syria by the military incursion by Turkey,” said Graham.

“I do hope that Turkey and Armenia can come together and deal with this problem. Given where we’re at in Syria and some hope that maybe we can resolve things, I object not because of the past, but because of the future,” added Graham, who clearly had given in to Erdogan.

Interestingly, earlier in the day, Graham, who has been a vocal opponent of Turkey, criticized Erdogan.

“I’ve never had an opportunity like this before. I appreciate it. The purpose of this meeting is to have an American civics lesson for our friends in Turkey. And there’s a pony in there somewhere if we can find it,” Graham reportedly said in the Oval Office during the meeting with Erdogan.

“Are we so afraid to stand up to history and the truth? Are we so afraid about Turkey?” asked Menendez in response to Graham’s opposition.

“Who’s the superpower? Who’s the superpower? I’m beginning to wonder. Because every time Turkey threatens to do something, we cower. Well, as far as I’m concerned, they don’t get to dictate the views of the Congress of the United States. They don’t get to dictate the views of this Senate,” added Menendez, saying the will prick the conscience of the Senate and to ultimately reveal who supports recognizing the Armenian Genocide and who does not? Otherwise these words about never again, they’re just hollow.”

“As much as he might like – as much President Trump may have led him to believe – Recep Erdogan doesn’t get a vote in the U.S. Senate,” said Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian as Erdogan was attacking the United States and its legislature.

“The ANCA hails Sen. Menendez’s call for immediate passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution – a powerful rebuke to Erdogan’s century-long obstruction of justice,” said Hamparian.

“It’s clear – in the wake of near-unanimous, bipartisan U.S. House passage H.Res.296 – that the Senate would also pass this resolution overwhelmingly. Senator Graham knows this and – understanding that this would further isolate the Trump Administration – is blocking his colleagues from an up-or-down vote on this measure. If Senator Graham has a problem with S.Res.150 he should vote against it, not prevent his Senate colleagues from voting their conscience on this human rights measure,” added Hamparian.

Trump-Erdogan Press Conference
It was an uncomfortable press conference to watch as who said he is “a big fan of the president [Erdogan]” and called him “his great friend” stood idly as the Turkish president lashed out at Congress for recognizing the Armenian Genocide and told reporters and he returned back a letter in which Trump urged Erdogan not to attack Syria.

“We have nothing to hide,” Erdogan said of the Armenian Genocide repeating his stale arguments to establish a historical commission to assess the events of 1915.

“I believe the Senate will take the United States out of this vicious cycle,” he sniped, referring to the pending Armenian Genocide resolution in the Senate and hinting that Congress was sticking its nose where it did not belong.

“It very very complex,” said Trump referring to Syria, adding that there were issues that went back centuries in that region.

ANCA-Led Protest Draws Large Crowd
Trump and Erdogan met for some several hours at the White House prior to the press conference, with Armenian, Hellenic, Kurdish, and religious freedom groups protesting throughout that time.

The protest was organized by the ANCA, in cooperation with the American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association (AHEPA), Hellenic American Leadership Council, American Hellenic Institute, In Defense of Christians, Armenian Youth Federation and American Rojava Center for Democracy – all calling attention to a wide array Turkish transgressions from Ankara’s recent invasion of northern Syria to its ongoing crackdown against Kurdish communities, occupation of Cyprus, oppression of Christian and other minority communities, crushing of dissent, jailing of journalists, blockading of Armenia, and denial of the Genocide committed against the Armenian, Greek, Assyrian/Syriac/Chaldean, and Maronite nations.

“Two years ago, Erdogan’s visit to DC was defined by foreign goons attacking and beating US citizens on American soil,” said AYF Washington Ani Chapter’s Nareg Kuyumjian. “Today, the foreign dictator was welcomed by hundreds of protesters organized by the AYF in coalition with a broad diversity of allies rallying around the permanent recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the House with H.Res.296. We will continue to build a movement around the momentum created with the passing of H.Res.296 to put an end to authoritarian oppression and genocide around the world.”

Hellenic American Leadership Council Executive Director Endy Zemenides noted “As an American, I am very discouraged that President Trump would set aside both American interests and values to roll out the red carpet for Erdogan. At the same time, I am encouraged by the diverse alliance of Americans who combined forces to protest in favor of those values and interests.”

U.S. Secret Service and Metropolitan Police were are high alert following the May, 2017, Erdogan-ordered attack on peaceful protesters across from the Turkish Ambassador’s residence, leaving many on the ground bleeding during most of the attack and send a dozen to the hospital. One Turkish American attempted to instigate a riot during the protest – flashing the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves sign – but was quickly pushed out by police. Armenian and Greek groups went to Sheridan Circle, committed to standing up for First Amendment rights of peace protesters.

“In Defense of Christians joined the protests today to send a clear message to Turkish President Erdogan that we will not sit by and allow him to commit atrocities against Christians and Yazidis in Northeast Syria,” said IDC Executive Director Peter Burns. “Congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide was only the beginning. We hope that he received the same message from the Trump Administration during their meetings today,” noted Burns.

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16 Comments

  1. State of Emergency said:

    Erdogan is a nobody, it’s the US interest that is giving this nobody a platform to stand on. If the will of the American people are to be truly represented then this genocidal nobody would not even be allowed to step foot on US soil. But as usual, special interests and misguided policy are controlling the rudder. If this was truly a just world this nobody should have been indicted and prosecuted for ordering his goons to attack US citizens on US soil in the US capital. Very disturbing that this scum continues to be invited to the White House and bestowed with praise and compliments for his past, present and future genocidal policies.

    • ardachece barseghian said:

      I am deeply hurt by all those exceptional activists who have been fighting for 100 years at the expense of their families, their social promotion to defend our rights. I do what I can but I came to my country, to the village, to eat my brother’s bread baker

  2. Annie Mehrabians said:

    Good job AYF, good job ANCA. The best part is that other ethnic and religious groups are joining their hands with ours to fight against Turkey’s state terrorism. We must stand together in the future, too, and raise our vice to demand justice and show the world that Turkey is very consistent in its STATE POLICY of genocide and oppression. We must move forward into active politics and not contain ourselves with just remembering the past! We also expect that the government of Armenia join the struggle and not forget that Azerbaijan is a close ally to Turkey. They are as red-handed as Erdoghan is.

    • ardachece barseghian said:

      incredible that citizens president validate the permanent policy of successive dictators, heritiers of abdul hamid the blood, repression in blood, ethnic cleansing, genocide, occupation of land. I can’t understand, I will NEVER accept

  3. ProudtobeAmerican said:

    I am proud to be an American, a citizen of the greatest nation this world has ever see.
    However, tonight I am ashamed of my nation,

    • ardachece barseghian said:

      I wish you could add your proud Armenian to that of your host country, not to mention 1923, Lausanne, where all these powerful states betrayed us by offering us to the Turkish lees, while we had served by blood Pays. Exactly what happens with the Kurds in Syria agressee occupied by the Turks, as in Cyprus, as our lands according to the agreement of sevres 1920 . Draw the lessons from the history of these constant betrayals and come and serve your country.

  4. Raffi said:

    Shame on President Trump to barter American values for temporary gains, with such a despot and genocide perpetrator terrorist leader as Erdogan.

    • N. Ohanian said:

      Americans together with most European nations have never had value to be proud of, they will sell their wife and darters for money as they do .this is a fact which Armenians never grasped.

  5. ardachece barseghian said:

    I am frightened by the Armenians of the diaspora. When you go to relax to come to YOUR country, comfort it by your knowledge, experiences. You want to persevere to fatten such president and these countries unworthy of humanity, by your intelligence, entrepreneurship, audacity, creation, imagining that successively betray the reality of genocide? Our country, your country needs you from you, rather than being humiliated … for a century

  6. ardachece barseghian said:

    I’m appalled by the Armenians in the diaspora. When will you decide to come to YOUR country, strengthen it with your knowledge, experiences. You will persevere to serve such presidents unworthy of humanity who dare to betray the reality of the Genocide. You have been offering for 100 years your intelligence, your hard work, your entrepreneurial spirit, your audacity, your creativity, your imagination, your indefectible loyalty and with tax ? Our country, your country needs you, rather than being humiliated… for a century

  7. Diran said:

    “My objection would not be to sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it.” (Lindsey Graham) An absolutely meaningless collection of words. Another sign of the cowardly, self-serving Trumpian moronism eating away at the core of our government.

  8. Ararat said:

    Erdogan is a typical Turkish bastard. He spent years getting rid of all incriminating evidence from Turkish archives on the 1915 Armenian Genocide and is now making claims that their archives are open for inspection. Armenians have been fighting for the genocide recognition ever since this crime was committed, more so since 1965 in particular, so then how come the genocidal terrorist Turkey did not make the same offer fifty or thirty or twenty years ago? They needed to buy time to clean up their archives. He then suggests the formation of a committee of historians to study the Armenian Genocide while openly denying this crime ever happened even before such a committee is formed! How can anyone trust this charlatan?

    After years of denying this crime and feeling the pressure by world leaders he now wants dialogue between the two nations he says. well, Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, attempted to do exactly that over a decade ago. What did Erdogan’s government do? It enacted the Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code, better known as “Insulting Turkishness”, designed to punish with prison term those who spoke about and those who exposed Turkish past crimes, The Armenian Genocide in particular, creating a hateful atmosphere which led to Dink’s murder in broad daylight. I have no doubt Erdogan himself was behind Dink’s murder.

    He is now busy invading Syria, a sovereign country right next door, long after demanding the removal of Syria’s president from office which led to war and Syrian refugee crisis in the first place, as if he has the right to do so yet no one can criticize his crackdown of hundreds of thousands in Turkey itself as a result of his own staged coup to clean house. This little cockroach is detached from reality and needs to be put in his place!

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