July 22, 2004

Los Angeles, CA— A powerful coalition of Armenian Americans expressed their strong support over the weekend for Congressman Adam Schiff who authored an Armenian Genocide Amendment that was passed by the US House of Representatives last week, announced the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR). The amendment prevents Turkey from spending US foreign aid dollars against legislation pending in Congress that recognizes the Armenian Genocide.

“Our ANC chapters stand united with Congressman Schiff in his effort to ensure that US taxpayer dollars are not used by Turkey to deny the Armenian Genocide,” commented ANCA-WR Executive Director Ardashes Kassakhian. “Our local ANC chapters stand ready to fight the stated intention of the Republican Leadership in Congress and the White House to strike the Schiff Amendment language when the foreign aid bill goes to conference,” he added.

Kassakhian referred to the joint statement by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO). The Republican Leadership released a statement that read: “We are strongly opposed to the Schiff Amendment… we will insist that conferees drop that provision in conference. We have contacted the Bush Administration, and they have indicated their strong opposition… Turkey has been a reliable ally of the United States for decades… our mutual economic and security relationship rests should not be disrupted by this amendment. Our relationship with Turkey is too important to us to allow it to be in any way damaged by a poorly crafted and ultimately meaningless amendment. Furthermore, we have no intention of scheduling H. Res. 193… during the remainder of this Congress.”

“Ronald Reagan was the last President to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide,” explained Burbank ANC Chair Peter Musurlian. “The late President–a hero to many Armenian American Republicans–would be ashamed at what is taking place on Capitol Hill, with the House leadership’s refusal to allow a vote on moral clarity.”

Glendale ANC Chair Pierre Charaghchian added, “The opposition to the Schiff Amendment by Republican leaders in Congress is sad. Sad because it shows how much influence the Republic of Turkey, a foreign government, has over some Members of Congress.”

The leaders of the Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and La Crescenta Armenian National Committee chapters praised Schiff for successfully securing passage of his amendment. The Schiff Amendment was adopted by voice vote during consideration of the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2005 on Thursday, July 15, 2004. The foreign aid bill was later passed by a vote of 365 to 41.

“Armenian Americans in Pasadena are proud to have Congressman Schiff spearhead the effort to properly recognize the first Genocide of the 20th Century,” stressed Pasadena ANC Chair Shahan Stepanian. “We are ready to mobilize the community and ensure that the Amendment passes through the joint House-Senate Conference Committee.”

“It is unfortunate that our Congressional leaders fail to demonstrate moral clarity on the issue of genocide recognition and prevention. Eventually, public policy will catch up to the truth and we will not let a few select politicians change America’s proud response to the Armenian Genocide,” stated La Crescenta ANC Chair Sarkis Tchakian.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns and interests of the Armenian American community.

For the latest news and action alerts log onto www.anca.org.


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Armen Carapetian
Email / Tel: (818) 500-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
Western Region
104 N. Belmont, Suite 200, Glendale, CA 91206 * Tel. (818) 500-1918