Sen. Lugar Calls for Postponement of S.Res.65 Vote Amid Heavy Pressure from the State Department

March 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today delayed discussion of a measure, authored by the panel’s chairman Joe Biden (D-DE), condemning the brutal murder of journalist and human rights activist Hrant Dink, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Committee’s top Republican, Richard Lugar (R-IN), called for the delay in the consideration of S.Res.65 amid heavy pressure from the Administration to remove references to Dink’s prosecution “under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking about the Armenian Genocide.” The legislation also urges the Turkish government to repeal this anti-free speech law. The resolution will now be scheduled for discussion at the Committee’s next business meeting.

“We are troubled that Senator Lugar – apparently acting at the request of the Administration – has delayed the U.S. Senate’s tribute to the life and memory of Hrant Dink,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We look forward to the panel, at the next opportunity, rejecting any efforts to block or water down this measure, and passing it in the form it was introduced.”

Following the delay, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Chris Dodd (D-CT) stated that, “It is unfortunate that the committee deferred action on this important resolution. I look forward to voting in support of the resolution when the committee considers it at the next business meeting.”

Chairman Biden noted that, “Hrant Dink was a leading voice in Turkey’s Armenian community and an eloquent advocate for human rights, press freedom, and reconciliation. His assassination was an outrage and a tragedy. Hrant’s legacy deserves our respect and his death, our condemnation.”

“Hrant Dink spoke out for tolerance in an era when voices like his need to be heard,” stated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. “His assassination was a terrible crime which warrants the strong condemnation of the Congress and the entire international community.”

In the days leading up to today’s delay, ANCA activists in the 21 states with Senators on the Committee encouraged support for S.Res.65 through phone calls, faxes, and meetings. They also reminded Senate offices that Hrant Dink’s brutal murder is a wake up call for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation formally recognizing and commemorating the Armenian Genocide. Those interested in taking action on this issue may visit:

On March 5th, the ANCA, in a letter sent to each of the members of the Foreign Relations Committee, urged Senators to oppose any efforts to water-down the language of S.Res.65. “We are opposed to any amendments which would alter the meaning of this measure, especially any that seek to remove mention of the Armenian Genocide, the very crime that Hrant Dink was so brutally persecuted for recognizing. An amended resolution that does not openly and honestly address the Armenian Genocide would represent a tragic surrender to the very same forces of intolerance that silenced him.”

Hrant Dink, editor of the bilingual Armenian/Turkish “Agos” newspaper, was gunned down outside his office in Istanbul on January 19th – sparking worldwide protests and renewed scrutiny of Turkey’s repression of free speech and international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial.

Two similar measures have been introduced in the U.S. House by Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY), one that mentions the Armenian Genocide and one that does not. The ANCA supports the former, but not the latter.


S. RES. 65
1st Session

S. RES. 65

Condemning the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and human rights advocate Hrant Dink and urging the people of Turkey to honor his legacy of tolerance.


February 1, 2007

Mr. BIDEN submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

Condemning the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and human rights advocate Hrant Dink and urging the people of Turkey to honor his legacy of tolerance.

Whereas Hrant Dink was a respected, eloquent advocate for press freedom, human rights, and reconciliation;

Whereas, in 1996, Mr. Dink founded the weekly bilingual newspaper Agos and, as the paper’s editor in chief, used the paper to provide a voice for Turkey’s Armenian community;

Whereas Mr. Dink was a strong proponent of rapprochement between Turks and Armenians and worked diligently to improve relations between those communities;

Whereas Mr. Dink’s commitment to democratic values, nonviolence, and freedom in the media earned him widespread recognition and numerous international awards;

Whereas Mr. Dink was prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking about the Armenian Genocide;

Whereas, notwithstanding hundreds of threats to Mr. Dink’s life and safety, he remained a steadfast proponent of pluralism and tolerance;

Whereas Mr. Dink was assassinated outside the offices of Agos in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 19, 2007;

Whereas tens of thousands of people in Turkey of many ethnicities protested Mr. Dink’s killing and took to the streets throughout the country to honor his memory;

Whereas the Government of Turkey has pledged to undertake a full investigation into the murder of Mr. Dink;

Whereas the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has stated that when Mr. Dink was shot, `a bullet was fired at freedom of thought and democratic life in Turkey’;

Whereas the Foreign Minister of Armenia, Vartan Oskanian, stated that Mr. Dink `lived his life in the belief that there can be understanding, dialogue and peace amongst peoples’; and

Whereas Mr. Dink’s tragic death affirmed the importance of promoting the values that he championed in life: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate–

(1) condemns the murder of Hrant Dink as a shameful act of cowardice perpetrated with contempt for law, justice, and decency;

(2) supports the pledge of the Government of Turkey to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the assassination of Mr. Dink and to prosecute those responsible;

(3) urges the Government of Turkey to repeal Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and work diligently to foster a more open intellectual environment in the country that is conducive to the free exchange of ideas;

(4) recognizes the decision of the Government of Turkey to invite senior Armenian religious and political figures to participate in memorial services for Mr. Dink;

(5) calls on the Government of Turkey to act in the interest of regional security and prosperity and reestablish full diplomatic, political, and economic relations with the Government of Armenia; and

(6) urges the people of Turkey to honor Mr. Dink’s legacy of tolerance.

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
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