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Keeping the Eye on the Ball, not Emanuel

November 7th, 2008 by hyeoctane

By Khatchig Mouradian

Rahm EmanuelThe selection of Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff—the first major appointment by President-elect Barack Obama—did not fare well with many Armenian-Americans who supported the Illinois Senator’s bid for presidency. While the Armenian-Americans who overwhelmingly voted for Obama showed signs of unease, those who supported the McCain-Palin ticket were quick to exclaim, I told you so!

The concerns of Armenian-Americans are understandable. Beginning with his days in the Clinton Administration through his years in Congress, Emanuel’s support has been mixed. It appears—if we are to take Robert Novak’s word for it—Emanuel opposed Clinton Administration affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. And yet, in his first term in Congress in 2003, he cosponsored Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.193) and urged President Bush in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to properly characterize the events from 1915-1923 as genocide.

Back then, Emanuel wasn’t afraid to question U.S. assistance to Turkey. In fact, in February 2003, when Congress was considering a $24 billion aid package to Turkey in return for allowing U.S. troops to open up a northern front to battle Iraqi insurgents, Emanuel was positively poetic in listing the myriad of domestic uses for those funds—from “no child left behind programs,” to college tuition assistance. Turkey eventually blocked U.S. troops from setting up the northern front.

Since 2006, it appears Emanuel has gone back to his Clinton-Administration days, counseling Speaker Pelosi not to place the Armenian Genocide resolution on the House agenda—advice that Pelosi and the House leadership did not heed.

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Clinton Praises Turkish Ties

February 11th, 2008 by hyeoctane

Some may have thought that Hillary Clinton’s backpedaling on the Genocide resolution back in October or appointment of Turkish ultra-nationalist fundraiser Mehmet Celebi as one of her delegates to the Democratic Convention wasn’t quite enough to make her suspect in the eyes of Armenians and anti-genocide activists. After all, she is still a co-sponsor of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the U.S. Senate, right?

Well, now it seems that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is seeking to end all doubt on where Mrs. Clinton actually stands. In a recent interview with the Turkish daily Sabah, Bill said the following: “Turkey is a very significant country for us. We need to have good relations with Turkey. The biggest contribution to this will come from Hillary. There will be great progress in relations if Hillary is elected.”

He went on to thank the many Turks who “contribute a lot to Hillary’s election campaign” and assured readers that relations with Turkey will prosper under a Hillary administration.

Category: Armenian Genocide, Turkey, US Elections | 8 Comments »

ANCA Endorses Obama

January 31st, 2008 by hyeoctane

Category: ANCA, US Elections | 1 Comment »

Turkey in a Tizzy Over Obama Statement

January 22nd, 2008 by hyeoctane

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan had deferred from comment on the U.S. Presidential elections last week, stating that the decision rightly belonged to the American people. All that changed this morning, with Erdogan – in an apparent moment of undiplomatic candor - calling Democratic Presidential hopeful Barak Obama a “political dilettante” for his support for Congressional passage of Armenian Genocide legislation.

“The relations between Turkey and US will not be sacrificed to bad campaigns of lobbies. He has got political dilettante problem for this candidacy. We advice him to solve this problem,” stated Erdogan, according to the Azeri APA news service.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) reported that Sen. Obama issued a powerfully worded statement on January 19th, stating that “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President.”

Additional campaign statements are expected in the upcoming days, according to the ANCA, which recently provided an overview of the records of the major Presidential candidates on Armenian American issues.

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Obama on Armenian Genocide

April 17th, 2007 by hyeoctane

On Thursday, April 12, 2007, over one hundred Illinois residents had an opportunity to hear Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speak out on the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

On several occasions over the past four years, Birazian, a Northbrook native, has attended the briefings on behalf of the Armenian National Committee of Illinois and has questioned her Senators on matters of importance to the state’s Armenian American community.

When invited to ask a question, Birazian thanked Senator Durbin for spearheading the Armenian Genocide Resolution, S.Res.106, as well as leading the effort to pass targeted divestment legislation relating to Darfur. Birazian also encourage Senator Obama to cosponsor S.Res.106. In his response, Senator Obama stated: “For those who aren’t aware, there was a genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish Government and others that this occurred. It has become a sore spot diplomatically. . .”

Following the meeting, Birazian commented: “Armenian Americans in Illinois and across the nation look forward to Senator Obama becoming a cosponsor of S. Res.106. His principled stand on genocide recognition is honorable, and as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his support of the legislation would help ensure that it moves quickly to the floor for a vote of the full Senate.”

More information on ANCA Website.

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