April 16, 2019 - 12:19 AMT
Senator presses U.S. envoy to Turkey on Armenian Genocide policy

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) cited the refusal of U.S. Ambassador to Turkey nominee David Michael Satterfield to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as an important reason to pass pending Senate and House Armenian Genocide legislation, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

S.Res.150 and H.Res.296 would – as a matter of U.S. national policy – recognize the Armenian Genocide, reject the denial of this crime, and encourage Armenian Genocide education in public schools.

In an exchange during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing for Ambassador-designate Satterfield last week, Sen. Menendez asked the nominee if he characterizes the 1915-1923 Armenian atrocities as ‘genocide.’ Satterfield, falling back on President Trump’s April 24th statements, stopped short of properly referencing the crime.

“This is an artful dance that we do as a nation in which we do not recognize the historical fact which even the U.S. Holocaust Museum, which is a quasi-governmental entity, acknowledges the facts of the Armenian Genocide but we are incapable of mouthing the comments of an Armenian Genocide,” stated Menendez. “We can not ultimately move to the future, we can not recognize the past as a simple reality.”

Senator Menendez called attention to his introduction of S.Res.150, along with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), which calls for a permanent policy of remembrance and recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The resolution currently has 16 cosponsors. The companion measure in the U.S. House (H.Res.296), spearheaded by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) currently has 88 co-sponsors.

Armenians commemorate the mass killings on April 24 because on that date in 1915 a group of Armenian intellectuals was rounded up and assassinated in Constantinople by the Ottoman government. On April 24, Armenians worldwide will be commemorating the 104th anniversary of the Genocide which continued until 1923. Some three dozen countries, hundreds of local government bodies and international organizations have so far recognized the killings of 1.5 million Armenians as Genocide. Turkey denies to this day.