ANCA Warns Against "Outsourcing" of America’s Moral Conscience to Turkey
WASHINGTON–Fearing an imminent vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106), Turkey’s multi-million dollar lobbyists have solicited the assistance of eight former U.S. Secretaries of State in seeking to derail this human rights legislation, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
"Facing a growing bipartisan Congressional majority demanding passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, Turkey’s lobbyists–out of desperation and a never ending desire to squeeze more billing dollars out of Ankara–have turned to the very architects of our government’s failed policy of appeasing Turkey," said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. "Sadly, successive U.S. administrations have found themselves lacking the moral courage to end the cycle of genocide– from Cambodia, to Rwanda and, today in Darfur–precisely because of their legacy of caving into, rather than confronting genocidal regimes."
"We are, as Americans, especially troubled that, in warning Congress not to make a simple anti-genocide statement for fear of upsetting Turkey, these officials would outsource our nation’s moral conscience to a foreign government," added Hamparian.
In their September 25th jointly-signed letter, former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright, James Baker III, Warren Christopher, Laurence Eagleburger, Alexander Haig, Jr., Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and George Schultz, urged Speaker Pelosi to, "prevent the resolution from reaching the House Floor," thereby denying House Members an opportunity to vote their conscience on the Armenian Genocide. The former State Department officials expressed concern that passage of the resolution "could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey." The complete text of the letter is provided below.
Introduced on January 30th by Rep. Adam Schiff along with Representative George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), the Armenian Genocide resolution calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. The resolution is cosponsored by 226 Members of Congress from 39 states. A similar resolution in the Senate (S.Res.106), introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) currently has 31 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY).
Over the past nine months, Armenian Americans and human rights advocates have joined with Members of Congress in educating their colleagues about the Armenian Genocide and the importance of proper recognition of this crime against humanity. The ANCA has mounted several national grassroots initiatives including the highly successful "Click for Justice" and "Call for Justice" campaigns as well as the "End the Cycle of Genocide" Advocacy Days, cosponsored with the Genocide Intervention Network.
Activists are encouraged to voice their support for the Armenian Genocide resolution by participating in the ongoing ANCA congressional Call-In Campaign by visiting: http://capwiz.com/anca/callalert/index.tt?alertid=10340906&type=TA
The Armenian Genocide resolution is supported by a broad-based coalition of over 50 human rights, religious, civic, and ethnic organizations, including the (in alphabetical order): American Federation of Jews from Central Europe (New York, NY), Americans for Peace Now (Washington, DC), American Hellenic Council of CA (Los Angeles, CA), American Hellenic Institute (Washington, DC), American Hungarian Federation (Washington, DC), American Jewish World Service (New York, NY), American Latvian Association in the U.S. (Rockville, MD), American Values (Washington, DC), Arab American Institute (Washington, DC), Belarusan-American Association (Jamaica, NY), Bulgarian Institute for Research and Analysis (Bethesda, MD), Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (New York, NY), Center for World Indigenous Studies (Olympia, WA), Christian Solidarity International (Washington, DC), Congress of Romanian Americans (McLean, VA), Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (Lafayette, LA), Estonian American National Council (Rockville, MD), Genocide Intervention Network (Washington, DC), Global Rights (Washington, DC), Hmong National Development, Inc., Hungarian American Coalition (Washington, DC), Institute on Religion and Public Policy (Washington, DC), International Association of Genocide Scholars (New York, NY), Jewish Social Policy Action Network (Philadelphia, PA), Jewish War Veterans of the USA (Washington, DC), Jewish World Watch (Encino, CA), Joint Baltic American National Committee (Rockville, MD), Leadership Council for Human Rights (Washington, DC), Lithuanian American Community (Philadelphia, PA), Lithuanian American Council (Rockville, MD), National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (New York, NY), National Council of Churches USA (New York, NY), National Federation of American Hungarians (Washington, DC), National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Washington, DC), National Lawyer’s Guild (New York, NY), Polish American Congress (Chicago, IL), Progressive Jewish Alliance (Los Angeles, CA), Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (Wyncote, PA), Slovak League of America (Passaic, New Jersey), The Georgian Association in the USA (Washington, DC), The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring (New York, NY), U.S. Baltic Foundation (Washington, DC), Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (New
York, NY), Ukrainian National Association (Parsippany, NJ), Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (Washington, DC), United Hellenic American Congress (Chicago, IL), Washington Chapter Czechoslovak National Council of America (Washington, DC), and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Philadelphia, PA), and the Zionist Organization of America (New York, NY).
September 25, 2007
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-0508
Dear Madam Speaker:
We are writing to express concern that H. Res. 106 could soon be put to a vote. Passage of the resolution would harm our foreign policy objectives to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia. It would also strain our relations with Turkey, and would endanger our national security interests in the region, including the safety of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We do not minimize or deny the enormous significance of the horrible tragedy suffered by ethnic Armenia’s from 1915 to 1923. During our tenures as Secretaries of the State, we each supported Presidential statemen’s recognizing the mass killings and forced exile of Armenia’s. It has been longstanding U.S. policy to encourage reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and to urge the government of Turkey to acknowledge the tragedy. We understand the Administration continues to urge the Turkish government to reexamine its history and to encourage both Turkey and Armenia to work towards reconciliation, including normalizing relations and opening the border. There are some hopeful signs already that both parties are engaging each other. We believe that a public statement by the U.S. Congress at this juncture is likely to undermine what has been painstakingly achieved to date.
We must also recognize the important contributions Turkey is making to U.S. national security, including security and stability in the Middle East and Europe. The United States continues to rely on Turkey for its geo-strategic importance. Turkey is an indispensable partner to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping U.S military with access to Turkish airspace, military bases, and the border crossing with Iraq, Turkey is a linchpin in the transshipment of vital cargo and fuel resources to U.S. troops, coalition partners and Iraqi civilians. Turkish troops serve shoulder-to-shoulder with distinction with U.S. and other NATO allies in the Balkans. Turkey is also a transit hub for non-OPEC oil and gas and remains key to our efforts to help the Euro-Atlantic community bolster its energy security by providing alternative supply sources and routes around Russia and Iran.
It is our view that passage of this resolution could quickly extend beyond symbolic significance. The popularly elected Turkish Grand National Assembly might react strongly to a House resolution, as it did to a French National Assembly resolution a year ago. The result could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey. We strongly urge you to prevent the resolution from reaching the house floor.
Madeleine K. Albright
James A. Baker III
Lawrence S. Eagleburger
Alexander M. Haig, Jr
Henry A. Kissinger
Colin L. Powell
George P. Shultz