Virginia Legislator: U.S. “Not Willing to Sweep History under the Rug”

March 8, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – In a principled stand for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Senator George Allen (R-VA), today, in his capacity as the presiding officer of a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on the Black Sea region, noted that the United States “wants to have good relations with Turkey but we are not willing to sweep history under the rug,” reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The hearing, on “The Future of Democracy in the Black Sea Area,” was held before the Subcommittee on European Affairs and featured testimony by John F. Tefft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, European and Eurasian Affairs; Bruce P. Jackson, President of the Project on Transitional Democracies; Vladimir Socor, a Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, and; Zeyno Baran, Director of International Security and Energy Programs for the Nixon Center.

Senator Allen, during his remarks, also noted the chilling nature of Adolf Hitler’s remarks to quiet the reservations of his military staff on the eve of invading Poland – “Who, after all, remembers the Armenians?”

“As he has done so often in the past – as a member of the Virginia legislature, a U.S. Representative, Governor of the Commonwealth, and now as Senator – George Allen has spoken with moral clarity on the need to end any association with Turkey’s shameful policy of genocide denial,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Armenians throughout the Old Dominion and around the nation appreciate the Senator’s strong leadership on the issue of the Armenian Genocide and the full range of legislative issues dealing with Armenia and the surrounding region.”

Early in her testimony, Baran of the Nixon Center cited the “deterioration in the U.S.-Turkey bilateral relationship.” She went on to voice her opposition to the Armenian Genocide Resolution, noting that its passage would harm U.S.-Turkey relations. “Given the prevalent Turkish view that the U.S. is running a campaign against Turkey, it would be very damaging if the “Armenian Genocide” resolution passed Congress this year,” stated Baran. “This year is the 90th anniversary of the tragic 1915 massacre and certainly Armenian diaspora groups would like to get recognition. However, such a resolution would play right into the hands of the growing set of anti-Americans and ultra-nationalists in Turkey.”

“We are profoundly troubled that there remain voices whose recipe for reining in the Turkish government’s increasingly anti-American policies is to reward Turkey by compromising our nation’s principled stand against genocide,” said Hamparian. “American leadership requires that we stand up for our values, not run away from them.”


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 *
Your generosity empowers our advocacy, inspires our work, and sustains our momentum.