PASADENA, CADuring the month of August, the Republic of Turkey initiated a meeting with the City of Pasadena to probe for information about the newly formed and independent Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee (PAGMC). The meeting took place at Pasadena City Hall between the Vice Consul of the Republic of Turkey in Los Angeles and the City’s management directors. Vice Consul Arif Celik’s consultation was politically driven stating that the government he represents held a “difference of opinion” about the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian National Committee of America – Pasadena cannot let such statements go unchecked: the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact and will not be allowed to be subjected to “differences of opinions” or debate. The nation of Turkey should acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and not interfere with American politics, in American cities and proposed projects by American citizens and residents. Under the American Constitution, the citizens of states, cities, and towns acting through their elected officials, are empowered to conduct their civic affairs without the interference of foreign governments. The Turkish government, which is among the world’s worst violators of freedom of expression, consistently seeks, and has frequently succeeded at the federal level, in imposing a gag rule on American calls for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide. The initiation of a meeting by a foreign nation’s officials with a local U.S. municipality is politically driven and, therefore, is deemed as an attempt to intervene in the affairs of our local American communities. Preserving heritage and memorializing ancestors who were killed by way of genocide is not subject to the political positions of foreign nations.
Pasadena has been home to Armenian-Americans for several decades, many of whom are descendants of the Armenian Genocide. In the past, the City of Pasadena has conducted an official census count of its Armenian-American residents and has amended its Affirmative Action ordinance to uphold Armenian-Americans as a Protected Class. In 1991, the City of Pasadena established the city of Vanadzor, Armenia as its sister-city and raised the Armenian Tri-color flag over Pasadena City Hall on May 28 to commemorate Armenia’s Day of Independence. For more than 30 years, the City of Pasadena has adopted resolutions and issued official proclamations to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.
It is intrusive for the Republic of Turkey to hold a political interest over how local communities stand against various crimes against humanity such as the 1915 Armenian Genocide. The vested interest of a foreign national government in local U.S. community issues is invasive, unacceptable, and is viewed as an encroachment on American rights and values.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.