New York, NY – Staten Island Congressman Michael McMahon’s (D-NY-13) March 27th fundraiser was picketed by local community groups outraged over his acceptance of campaign donations from interests who backed his recent vote as a member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee to block American recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The luncheon reception for the Congressman was held at the Ali Baba Terrace restaurant and attracted nearly 25 guests including several members of the Turkey’s diplomatic corp. More than twice that number protested outside, handing out thousands of fliers alerting local residents and voters about the Congressman’s voting record.
“Given the timing of the fundraiser, it’s clear that Congressman McMahon is cashing in on his recent vote against passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution,” said Paul Saryian, an ANCA activist from Staten Island. “Congressional Representatives should not be rewarded for their complicity in genocide denial or for supporting Turkey’s current aggression towards minorities.”
Rep. McMahon’s inaction in the face of Turkey’s 36-year illegal occupation of Cyprus and silence on Turkey’s repression of its Christian community prompted broad presence by local Greek and Cypriot activist. “We are convinced that if Turkey had been punished for its atrocities committed against Armenians, the invasion of Cyprus and crimes committed against Greek Cypriots would have never happened,” said Nikolaos Taneris, founder and press officer of Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA). “With his recent vote and contributions he is receiving by the Turkish community, McMahon is now complicit in these crimes against humanity.”
Republican Congressional candidates Michael Allegretti and Michael Grimm, vying for the Republican nomination to unseat Rep. McMahon in November, have pledged support for Armenian Genocide legislation. “I urge the members of the House Foreign Relations to stand-up and recognize the genocide, which took place between 1915-1923. It is unspeakable that one and a half million Armenians lost their lives in an effort to erase them from their homeland. Passage of this resolution would be a positive step for the region,” said Allegretti, prior to the Committee consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution on March 4th, which passed by a vote of 23 to 22.
“There is no doubt that reconciliation talks between Armenia and Turkey cannot continue in a meaningful way until all parties recognize what happened, and that is why I urge Congressman McMahon to reconsider his position, take a more expansive view of the global implications and do the right thing by supporting this resolution,” said Grimm in a recently issued statement to the ANCA.
In remarks before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. McMahon used euphemistic language to avoid proper characterization of the Ottoman Turkish goverment’s murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923. He went on to cite support for the Turkey-Armenia Protocols – an agreement widely seen as the Turkish Government’s latest attempt to derail international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. U.S. Department of Justice Foreign Agent Registration records reveal that Turkey’s lobbyists in Washington have contacted Rep. McMahon’s office over a dozen times of the past year to secure his support for the initiatives. The March 27th fundraising reception was the latest in Turkish-American efforts to support his re-election bid.