For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
tel: (202) 775-1918
CLARK ISSUES STATEMENT RECOGNIZING THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
“What happened in 1915 was genocide,” states Democratic Presidential Candidate
WASHINGTON, DC – Democratic Presidential Candidate General Wesley Clark discussed the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and called for strengthened U.S. resolve to prevent future atrocities, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)
In an open letter to the Armenian American community, transmitted to the ANCA earlier today, General Clark referenced the efforts of the United States and NATO allies to stop the atrocities in the Balkans in 1999. “Back in 1915, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire got no such rescue,” explained Clark. Noting that the Ottoman Turkish authorities “rounded up and executed Armenian leaders in Constantinople and other towns, they desecrated Armenian churches, and they ordered the deportation of the Armenian people,” Clark stated “what happened in 1915 was genocide.”
General Clark concluded that while many of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide who had sought safe haven in the United States have passed away, “we owe it to their memory, and to the memory of the hundreds of thousands who perished, to never forget the Armenian genocide, and to strengthen our commitment to preventing such horrors in the future.”
“We welcome General Clark’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide, his commitment to ensuring that those who perished are never forgotten, and his dedication to preventing such horrors in the future,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We look forward to sharing Mr. Clark’s views with Armenian American voters throughout the United States as part of our expanding ANCA Voter Education Campaign.”
The full text of General Clark’s statement is provided below.
GENERAL WESLEY K. CLARK (Ret.)
December 12, 2003
OPEN LETTER TO THE ARMENIAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY
In 1999, while I served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, I had the privilege of commanding a NATO operation that prevented a genocide in the Balkans. The United States and its NATO allies halted atrocities being perpetrated against Kosovo Albanians and gave the Albanians the freedom they needed to shape their own destinies. Back in 1915, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire got no such rescue.
Under the cover of World War I, the Ottoman authorities rounded up and executed Armenian leaders in Constantinople and other towns, they desecrated Armenian churches, and they ordered the deportation of the Armenian people, sending hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, old and young, into the barren desert, where were murdered en route, or where they died of starvation and disease. The precise death toll is unknowable, but it is likely that some one million Armenians were killed. What happened in 1915 was genocide.
Nearly ninety years have passed since these horrors were perpetrated, and most of the Armenians who miraculously managed to survive the slaughter have passed away. The United States welcomed many of these Armenian survivors as refugees, and we embraced them as citizens. We owe it to their memory, and to the memory of the hundreds of thousands who perished, to never forget the Armenian genocide, and to strengthen our commitment to preventing such horrors in the future.
General Wesley K. Clark (Ret.)
Clark for President, PO Box 2959, Little Rock, AR 72203 • www.clark04.com
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