05/12/10 - Attended Assembly of Turkic American Associations dinner at Willard Hotel.
03/04/10 - Remarks offered at House Committee on Foreign Affairs markup of H. Res. 252 - Let me disagree respectfully with my colleague. This is about the past. It is not about the future. It is about the past. Let me note that I personally would have preferred that this resolution not be brought up. It is about events that took place almost 100 years ago.
It is about a crime committed by a government of a country, the Ottoman Empire, that hasn?t existed for nearly 100 years. It is about a crime in which the perpetrators and the victims are all dead with a few rare exceptions, three of whom are with us today. Furthermore, it is an issue that has little or nothing to do with the United States.
With that said, this legislation before us, I have looked into the history of this legislation and the historic events that it comments upon, and let us note there was an Armenian uprising in an attempt to gain independence from the Ottoman rule. In that uprising there was widespread killing of civilians, both Turks and Armenians.
The Ottoman troops suppressed the uprising, and had it ended there this resolution would not be before us today. The Ottoman Government, after putting down the uprising, decided to put an end to what they saw as the Armenian problem.
The slaughter that followed, the slaughter of defeated and unarmed people, mostly noncombatants, was a crime not just against Armenians, but against humanity.
So because I am now confronted with voting for a resolution about this many decades old issue, but I am confronted with a resolution that is basically truthful, I cannot vote against truth. I would add this, though, that this resolution is being supported based on the belief that it will at long last close the book on an issue that should have been resolved long ago. My vote and the vote of my colleagues is not intended to create more conflict, but instead to resolve it.
Specifically, this is a vote to set the record straight and to get the issue resolved and behind us. This is not an endorsement of reparations and a demand for which will not bring about healing, but will open the door to new and unending conflict. This is about the truth. It is not about reparations, which will not right a wrong of 100 years ago, but instead will create more conflict today. Let us resolve this issue, not open up new conflict.
With that said, I will vote for this resolution because it is truthful, and the truth is also that Turkey is a friend and has been a good and reliable ally, a nation of Muslims who represent a democratic and moderate force in the Islamic world, but because they are a positive and important force in the world and a friend and have proven their friendship does not mean that we should refrain from acknowledging the truth when we are confronted with it, especially if it is a truth about a crime long ago.
But to basically refrain from acknowledging the truth when it is there, you have to make that decision because it will upset a friend is not a reasonable supposition. If Germany, which was so important to us during the Cold War, would have been upset that we acknowledged the Holocaust and it was suggested that I should vote against a resolution acknowledging the Holocaust to spare Germany?s feelings I would have rejected that notion and I would have voted to acknowledge the Holocaust.
Today we reconfirm our commitment to truth, the truth of history, and we offer a sincere hope as well that our friendship with Turkey is strong enough to withstand the acknowledgment of a darker moment in that country?s history. We have darker moments in our history as well, as do every country. You get past those darker moments and you shut the book by acknowledging the truth of what wrongs were committed in the past.
America has committed wrongs in the past. That doesn?t mean we need to dwell on it, but they need to be acknowledged in order to correct it.
So with that said I will be voting for this resolution, and now that I have gotten both sides of this issue mad at me I yield back the balance of my time.
Communications with Foreign
For Turkey and/or Azerbaijan:
(as reported by the U.S. Department of Justice - www.fara.gov)
5/6/2009 - Robert Mangas of the Dickstein Shapiro, LLP emailed Paul Berkowitz regarding office visit request..
9/10/2009 - Janice O'Connell of the Gephardt Group Government Affairs, LLC emailed Paul Berkowitz (Legislative Assistant) regarding meeting request to discuss PKK.
9/16/2009 - Janice O'Connell of the Gephardt Group Government Affairs, LLC met with Dana Rohrabacher regarding PKK peace initiative.
9/16/2009 - Janice O'Connell of the Gephardt Group Government Affairs, LLC met with Paul Berkowitz (Legislative Assistant) regarding PKK peace initiative.
5/26/2010 - Robert Mangas of the Dickstein Shapiro, LLP emailed Fess Cassels Request for Ambassador.
5/26/2010 - Robert Mangas of the Dickstein Shapiro, LLP emailed Paul Berkowitz Request for Ambassador.
6/7/2010 - Robert Mangas of the Dickstein Shapiro, LLP spoke with Paul Berkowitz meeting Request.