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Category Archives: Politics

Armenian Assembly Calls for Public Congressional Hearings on Turkish Interference in America’s Democratic Institutions

Reiterates Call for Members of Congress to Withdraw from the Turkish Caucus

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid reports that Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be filing new indictments after probing a potential quid pro quo scheme, whereby then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would be paid $15 million to secretly carry out Turkey’s bidding, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) calls for thorough public Congressional hearings to fully expose these matters. Flynn was already paid $530,000 last year for work the Justice Department says benefited the government of Turkey, and did not register as a foreign agent at the time.

The Assembly has repeatedly highlighted Turkey’s attempts to gain surreptitious influence over U.S. officials and media to the detriment of U.S. national security, and has urged investigations therein. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Member, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), in a June 2017 op-ed in The Hill titled “Did Turkey’s payments to Michael Flynn delay our military operations against ISIS?” stated that “questions regarding Turkey, however, reveal most clearly how personal considerations may have overridden our national interests.” In addition, the Assembly has also highlighted Azerbaijan’s attempts to undermine western democratic values and institutions through the billions it has spent in the “Laundromat scheme” to buy silence. Investigations are now bearing fruit. The Assembly has also urged with some success those Representatives who joined the Turkish and Azeri Caucuses to withdraw.

In Florida, Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) sit on the Armenian Caucus. Ros-Lehtinen, who will retire in 2018, is also on the Turkish Caucus, as are Reps. Dennis Ross (R-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), and Ted Yolo (R-FL). Hastings is the only Florida Representative on the Azerbaijan Caucus.

“The latest news regarding secret payments to Michael Flynn to carry out Turkey’s bidding are just the tip of the iceberg,” stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “Illegal Turkish and Azerbaijani money has been flowing into D.C. and we have an obligation to immediately stop these corrupting practices. Beyond thorough investigations and indictments, exposure through public hearings and legislative reform to increase reporting and penalties are necessary to stop officials who can be bought by the Erdogans and Aliyevs of the world from hijacking the American government,” they added. “Members ought not to associate themselves with such corrupt and authoritarian regimes. Given Turkey’s treatment of Christians, dangerously rogue behavior, denial of the Armenian Genocide and support for Azerbaijan’s ISIS-style beheadings and other attacks, it is well past time for Members of Congress to withdraw their membership from the Turkish and Azeri Congressional Caucuses.”

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Mark Samuelian Elected Miami Beach City Commissioner

On Tuesday night, Mark Samuelian became the first Armenian American elected official in Miami-Dade County history.

MIAMI BEACH, FL –On Tuesday night, Mark Samuelian won his race for the Miami Beach City Commission. With all precincts reporting, Samuelian received 7,535 votes out of a total of 11,111 votes cast, or 67.82%. He is the first Armenian American to hold public office in Miami-Dade County.

In a wild race that once had five people vying for the Group II seat, Mark Samuelian stayed above the fray throughout the campaign. He ran a clean, professional, and solid grassroots campaign, and he kept working until the very end, despite his opponents’ woes.

Miami Beach Commissioner-Elect Mark Samuelian and Florida Armenians Editor Taniel Koushakjian on Election Night, Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

Surrounded by family, friends, and supporters at the Betsy Hotel in South Beach, Samuelian shared the big news to a long and celebratory applause. In his victory speech, he outlined his governing principles and campaign priorities. He reiterated his vow to work hard to ensure his policies are adopted and that residents are well represented on the commission.

In addition to Samuelian, two other FLArmenians.com endorsed candidates won their races. Dan Gelber was elected Miami Beach Mayor with 82.38%, and Michael Gongora was elected to the Miami Beach Commission Group III seat with 64.81%.

“Florida Armenians congratulate all the winners in Miami Beach and throughout Miami-Dade County,” stated Florida Armenians Editor Taniel Koushakjian. “We are especially proud of Mark Samuelian on his historic, and resounding victory. I expect there to be many more Armenian Americans holding public office in Florida in the years to come,” Koushakjian said.

Florida Armenians 2017 Endorsements

Florida Armenians is proud to support the following candidates for Miami Beach City Commission in the upcoming November 7, 2017 elections:

Mayor: Dan Gelber
Commissioner Group II: Mark Samuelian
Commissioner Group III: Michael Gongora

Florida Armenians also support Micky Steinberg for Miami Beach Commissioner, Group I. She is running unopposed, therefore she will automatically be elected and will not appear on the ballot. 

We are especially proud to support fellow Armenian American Mark Samuelian. We believe his unique story, strong academic and business background, commitment to residents, and passion for public service will greatly serve the people of Miami Beach. Read our exclusive interview with Mark Samuelian here.