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REP. KENNEDY CALLS ON ADMINISTRATION TO CONFRONT TURKEY´S DENIAL OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

WASHINGTON, DC, MARCH 22. ARMINFO. The Armenian Assembly today praised Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a member of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, for calling on the Bush Administration to openly deal with Turkey’s continued policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide and to support a congressional resolution reaffirming this crime against humanity.

Kennedy, in a statement issued last week before Congress, said the Administration’s reluctance to address the issue stems from its refusal to alienate Turkey at a time when Washington is seeking to repair relations with Ankara.

“This approach sends absolutely the wrong signal to Turkey and to the rest of the world,” Kennedy stated. “As we promote relations based upon shared values, the United States must never forget the essential value of facing history directly.”

Kennedy also added that the present day Turkish government must stop its shameful policy of denial of the Armenian Genocide.

“The Turkish government spends millions of dollars annually to lobby other governments to advance its revisionist cause, claiming that the subject is sensitive and that acknowledgement would undermine relations with Turkey,” Kennedy said.

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed calls for further study of the Armenian Genocide, telling Reuters “If there is a need for a political settling of accounts with history after such a study, we, the government and the opposition, are ready to do just that.”

Assembly leaders, for their part, joined Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian in calling the study pointless given the scholarly community’s publicly stated conclusions confirming the events as Genocide.

“Periodic calls by various Turkish administrations for historical debate simply delay the process of reconciling the truth,” Oskanian recently said in a speech before the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. “The facts are clear. The historical record is clear. We know well what happened to our forebears.”

The Assembly in recent weeks has pointed to such public affirmations, as well as those of leading U.S. public officials such as Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, as part of its campaign to urge President Bush to recognize the Armenian Genocide in his statement of remembrance next month.

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