* Encourages Armenian-Americans in New Hampshire–California–New York and around the nation to vote for Bradley in Democratic Primaries.
FALLS CHURCH–Va.–The Armenian American Democratic Leadership Council has endorsed Bill Bradley in the Democratic primaries–citing his principled stand against Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide–his strong record on Armenian American issues in the US Senate–and his willingness to reach out and engage Armenian American Democrats.
The organization’s endorsement follows a vote of the AADLC Steering Committee in which members considered written statemen’s from each candidate outlining their views on Armenian issues. Among these were: US recognition of the Armenian Genocide; US aid policy to Armenia–Nagorno Karabakh–Azerbaijan and Turkey; Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination–and; Armenian American participation in the public policy process.
In addition–the Steering Committee evaluated the past records of the candidates–as well as the results of a straw poll held over the Labor Day weekend and a nation-wide–direct mail survey which revealed that more than 74 percent of Armenian American Democrats polled support Bill Bradley’s candidacy.
In announcing the Bradley endorsement–the AADLC noted his willingness to take a principled and public stand on the Armenian Genocide. Twice within the past six months–in a speech at the National Press Club and during a town hall meeting in Durham–New Hampshire–he has spoken on national television about the need for Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and of his personal efforts to impress this point upon officials of the Turkish government. In addition–he has described "United States-Armenia ties [as] the bedrock on which a future of peace–stability–and security can be built for the Caucasus region." Consistent with his record as a US Senator–he has strongly defended Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act–the law restricting US assistance to Azerbaijan until it has lifted its blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
Among the issues taken into account when considering the Vice President’s candidacy–of the greatest significance was his silence on why–since being elected in 1992–he has failed to characterize as "genocide" the Ottoman Turkish campaign to destroy the Armenian people. This silence is all the more troubling given his vote in 1990 as a US Senator in support of Bob Dole’s Armenian Genocide resolution. Other issues taken into account were the policies of the Clinton/Gore Administration on Nagorno Karabakh’s right to self-determination and on foreign aid issues–concerning Armenia–Nagorno Karabakh–Azerbaijan–and Turkey. On each of these issues–despite repeated requests–the Vice President did not take advantage of the many opportunities he had to either make clear his own views or to build his own bridges to the Armenian American community. The AADLC remains hopeful that the Vice President will choose to take advantage of these opportunities in the future.
The AADLC encourages all Armenian American Democrats and independents to cast their primary voters for Bill Bradley.