07/17/14 - Remarks delivered on the Senate floor on Cyprus - Mr. President, I wish to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the division of Cyprus, which began on July 20, 1974.
On July 20, 1974, Turkey began its brutal invasion of the island of Cyprus. By August 25, 1974, Turkish forces controlled more than one-third of the island. To this day, Cyprus remains divided.
Forty years later, it is long past time for a permanent solution that results in a free and unified Cyprus.
For decades, numerous rounds of negotiations have attempted to achieve a settlement. For too long, these efforts have failed to yield meaningful progress. However, a new round of talks began in February of this year. I am deeply hopeful that these negotiations will result in a fair and durable solution for all Cypriots.
A secure and stable Republic of Cyprus will strengthen the friendship and alliance between the United States and Cyprus. This relationship is based on our long history and our mutual goals and values, including a commitment to democracy, opportunity for all, and human rights.
Lasting peace in Cyprus will also reinforce Cyprus's role as a force for peace, prosperity, and stability in the region.
That is why we must continue to do everything possible to help Cyprus resolve the decades-long illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkey.
As Vice President Biden said in May during his historic visit to Cyprus, ``For the sake of the boys and girls born on this island who deserve the possibility that only peace can bring, let's finally make hope and history rhyme together.''
04/28/14 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record - Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide--a tragedy that has left a dark stain on the collective conscience of the world.
Between 1915 and 1923, more than 1.5 million Armenians were marched to their deaths in the deserts of the Middle East, murdered in concentration camps, drowned at sea, and forced to endure unimaginable acts of brutality at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
The Armenian Genocide--along with the Holocaust is one of the most studied cases of genocide in history. Countless experts have documented the atrocities that occurred, compiling an overwhelming body of historical evidence on the Armenian Genocide.
However, successive U.S. administrations have refused to call the deliberate massacre of the Armenians by its rightful name, continuing only to refer to it as an annihilation, massacre, or murder.
It has been nearly a century since the Armenian Genocide began and each day that goes by without full acknowledgement by the United States prolongs the pain felt by the descendants of the victims, as well as the entire Armenian community.
For years, I have been urging both Democratic and Republican administrations to finally acknowledge the Armenian Genocide for what it was--genocide. I do so again today.
The United States has often led the international community in speaking out against violence and suffering wherever it occurs. But tragically, our Nation is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the Armenian Genocide. I hope that this year we right this terrible wrong once and for all.
It is time for the United States to join the list of countries from Argentina to France as well as 43 U.S. States that have unequivocally affirmed the Armenian Genocide.
Genocide is only possible when people avert their eyes. Any effort to deal with genocide--whether past, present or future--must begin with the truth.
So this April 24, as we pause to remember the victims of the Armenian Genocide and to celebrate the many contributions Armenian Americans have made to our great nation, I hope that the United States will finally and firmly stand on the right side of history and call the tragedy of 1915-1923 by its rightful name.
04/10/14 - With a vote of 12 to 5, the Committee voted to condemn and commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Those who joined Senator Menendez in supporting the measure were Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tom Udall (D-NM). Those opposing the measure were Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Bob Corker (R-TN), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID). Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) did not vote.
04/24/13 - Statement submitted for the Congressional Record - Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the 98th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide based in part on the horrific crimes perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian people in the early 20th Century.
Between 1915 and 1923, more than 1.5 million Armenians were marched to their deaths in the deserts of the Middle East, murdered in concentration camps, drowned at sea, and forced to endure horrific acts of brutality at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Yet, in the 65 years that have passed since the Convention was adopted, successive U.S. administrations have refused to call the deliberate massacre of the Armenians by its rightful name genocide.
For many years, I have urged both Democratic and Republican administrations to finally acknowledge the truth. I do so again today. It is long past time for our government to acknowledge, once and for all, that the Armenian genocide is a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.
In fact, the Armenian genocide along with the Holocaust is one of the most studied cases of genocide in history. Tragically, Adolf Hitler even used the Ottoman Empire's action against the Armenians to justify the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust, saying in 1939, ``Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?''
A number of sovereign nations, ranging from Argentina to France, as well as 43 out of 50 U.S. States have recognized what happened to the Armenians as genocide. Yet successive U.S. administrations continue only to refer to the Armenian genocide as an annihilation, massacre, or murder.
The entire Armenian community and the descendants of the victims of the Armenian genocide continue to suffer prolonged pain each and every day that goes by without full acknowledgement by the United States.
I hope that this is the year that we finally right this terrible wrong because the United States cannot and does not turn a blind eye to atrocities around the globe. In fact, the United States is often the first to speak out in the face of violence and unspeakable suffering and to urge other countries to respond. But sadly, our Nation is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the Armenian genocide.
So this April 24, as we pause to remember the victims and to celebrate the many contributions Armenian Americans have made to our great country, I hope that the United States will finally and firmly stand on the right side of history and officially condemn the crimes of 1915 to 1923 by their appropriate name.