The Armenian Genocide was the centrally planned and systematically executed deportation and murder of over 2 million Christian Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians, perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1915-1923. Despite overwhelming documentation by historians and condemnation by over 25 countries worldwide, Turkey continues to enforce a gag-rule against truthful US reaffirmation of this crime.
ANCA Ask: President Obama should honor his campaign pledge to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide and Congress should enact legislation calling for a truthful and just resolution of this still unpunished crime.
Congressional Action (114th Congress):
US & International Affirmation of the Armenian Genocide:
President Obama and the Armenian Genocide: Despite his strong record as a U.S. Senate and his repeated pledges as a presidential candidate to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide, President Obama has, since taking office, enforced Ankara’s gag-rule against official US commemoration of this crime – even formally opposing Congressional efforts to reaffirm past U.S. affirmation of the Genocide. The ANCA has compiled a comprehensive review of the Obama record prior to his entering the White House. His annual
Near East Relief and US Humanitarian Assistance to Armenian Genocide Survivors: Under Congressional mandate, the US, between 1915 and 1930, embarked on an unprecedented humanitarian campaign providing the equivalent of over $2 billion in today’s dollars to help save Armenian Genocide survivors. Every US state did its part to support the humanitarian effort – documented thoroughly in state-by-state fact sheets prepared by the ANCA Western Region’s “America We Thank You” project. Learn more about the effort by visiting the ANCA Western Region’s “America We Thank You” campaign or by visiting the Near East Relief website.
The territory of present-day Turkey, encompassing the biblical lands of Anatolia and Mount Ararat – the famed resting-place of Noah’s Ark – is home to many of Christianity’s pivotal events and holy sites. Before 1915, the territory of modern-day Turkey was home to large, indigenous, and vibrant Christian communities, comprised of millions of Armenians, Greeks, Pontians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, and Catholics. The Christian population in Turkey has been decimated through genocide and persecution. In the past century, over 1,500,000 Armenian Christians were murdered. Today, the persecution and dispossession of Christians continues and they account for less than 0.1% of Turkey’s population. Of the over 2,000 Armenian churches which existed in the early 1900s, only 38 remain open and active today. Christians cannot legally train clergy in Turkey and the Ecumenical (Greek Orthodox) and Armenian Patriarchates are prevented from formally owning and transferring property.
ANCA Ask: The President and Congress should put in place policies that, first, prevent the vast and ongoing destruction of Christian religious heritage within Turkey, and then initiate a sustainable process of restoring, to their rightful owners, all stolen Christian holy sites and religious properties.
The bonds of friendship and shared values between Americans and Armenians span more than a century. Americans of Armenian heritage have served the US in every war since the Civil War, and proudly serve today in every branch of the military. Since regaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Republic of Armenia has been a strong friend of America, sending troops to support US operations in Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mali, and Afghanistan. In addition, Armenia is regularly ranked highly by the Wall Street Journal / Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom, and met the Fiscal Year 2014 eligibility criteria for the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
At the same time, the people of landlocked Armenia, the world’s first Christian state, continue to face the devastating impact of Turkey and Azerbaijan’s dual economic blockades.
ANCA Ask: The Administration should actively promote the growth of US-Armenia economic relations by negotiating a US-Armenia Double Tax Treaty, hosting trade missions, and by other means, consistent with calls by Microsoft, FedEx, NASDAQ, and other firms doing business in Armenia.
The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) is an integral part of historic Armenia that was arbitrarily carved out in 1921 by Joseph Stalin and placed under Soviet Azerbaijani administration, but with autonomous status, as part of the Soviet divide-and-conquer strategy in the Caucasus. During seven decades of Soviet Azerbaijani rule, the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh was subjected to discriminatory policies aimed at its removal. In the late 1980s, the United States welcomed Nagorno Karabakh’s historic challenge to the Soviet system and its leadership in sparking democratic movements in the Baltics and throughout the Soviet empire.
On September 2, 1991, the people of Nagorno Karabakh declared independence from the Soviet Union and became the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. On December 10, 1991, Nagorno Karabakh held an independence referendum in which 82% of all voters participated and 99% voted for independence. In response, Azerbaijan launched an all-out war against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, targeting civilians and recruiting Islamic extremist mujahideen from Afghanistan and Chechnya to join the Azerbaijani army. In May 1994, the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia, and Azerbaijan signed a cease-fire agreement with mediation efforts through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, co-chaired by the US, France, and Russia.
ANCA Ask: The United States should formally recognize the independent Republic of Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh), affirming its right to self-determination within secure borders. The US should expand the annual US assistance to the Republic to at least $5 million in US developmental and humanitarian aid to offset ongoing Azerbaijani aggression and a blockade in place since 1988. As Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the US should clearly and unequivocally condemn Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia and Artsakh.
Congressional Action (114th Congress):
Nagorno Karabakh Peace Process: The Nagorno Karabakh Republic was one of the three parties to the 1994 cease-fire, which ended military hostilities between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. In its aftermath, Nagorno Karabakh participated in the OSCE Minsk Group peace process as a partner, along with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since 1998, however, at Baku’s insistence, Nagorno Karabakh has been unfairly and counter-productively excluded from the peace process. Nagorno Karabakh should, in the interests of peace and fairness, be a full participant in all talks regarding its future.
Javakhk is a historically Armenian region in the southern part of the Republic of Georgia. The economic well-being, civic engagement, and social development of the Armenian population of Javakhk represent keys to a unified, independent, and democratic Georgia that both respects pluralism and promotes local self-government.
ANCA Ask: Our request, for the FY 2016 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill, is for at least 10% of a robust US aid package to Georgia be targeted to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region to support job-creation and poverty reduction programs.
Armenians and other vulnerable civilian populations have been caught between warring sides in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East. These conflicts have created humanitarian crises for Armenian communities across the region. Within Syria, much of the historic Armenian community has been destroyed, with residential neighborhoods being bombed, churches desecrated, and individuals killed or kidnapped. Those who remain are working to save their community and serve the basic humanitarian needs of the most needy among them.
ANCA Ask: The ANCA requests that USAID address serious gaps in the delivery of need-based humanitarian aid within Syria which have left Armenians and other at-risk minority populations largely outside the stream of international assistance. The ANCA calls for increased US and international assistance to help Armenia settle the more than 17,000 refugees from Syria who have found safe haven in Armenia.
Turkey’s Destabilizing Role in the Syria Crisis:
The bonds of friendship and shared values between Americans and Armenians span over a century. Americans of Armenian heritage have served the US in every war since the Civil War, and proudly serve today in every branch of the military. Today, with the generous help of our Congress, the Republic of Armenia is a strong friend of America, sending troops to support our operations in Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mali and Afghanistan. Nagorno Karabakh, with the support of direct US assistance, stands today as a constructive partner in the search for a lasting peace in the Caucasus.
ANCA FY 2016 Foreign Aid Priorities:
Congressional Action (114th Congress):