WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday multiple lawmakers issued statements of praise for President Joe Biden following reports that he plans to officially recognize the killing of more than 1.5 million Armenian people by the Ottoman Turkish Empire more than a century ago as a genocide.
The statement by Biden, expected to come on or before Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on Saturday, April 24, 2021, which marks the 106th anniversary of the start of the years-long attacks against Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish Empire, which began during World War I and lasted until 1922. Biden would be the first U.S. president to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, though President Reagan made a reference to the genocide once in 1981 when discussing the Holocaust.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who last month led a bipartisan coalition of 38 Senators calling on Biden to officially recognize the genocide, said in a statement Thursday that he was “honored and incredibly moved” by the president’s “reported decision to end over a century of official erasure of one of the darkest events in human history.”
“After three decades of leading this fight in Congress, I am proud the U.S. government is poised to finally be able to say it without any euphemism: genocide is genocide,” Menendez added. “Plain and simple.” marks the 106th anniversary of the start of the years-long attacks against Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, which began during World War I and lasted until 1922.
Menendez added Thursday that he was “deeply grateful for and inspired by the Armenian American community’s persistence in ensuring the Armenian genocide is recognized as an irrefutable fact of history — accepted by the United States and the rest of the world.”
“Having the full U.S. government affirm the facts of the Armenian Genocide will send a strong signal that the truth and human rights, not ignorance and denial, shape our foreign policy,” the New Jersey senator added.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), who was also one of the senators to sign on to last month’s letter to Biden, took to the Senate floor and expressed his satisfaction, “It’s come to my attention that President Biden intends to have the United States formally recognize the Armenian Genocide, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to do so. Great news. It’s a long time coming and a step that I have called on Presidents of both parties to take. Each year, I gather with Armenian Americans in Times Square to commemorate the annual anniversary of this atrocity, and every year, my heartbreaks for the victims of the genocide and their descendants. There are very few left but some very elderly people are sitting in the audience each year reminding us how painful and how real that genocide was.”
Senator Schumer concluded his remarks by criticizing the Turkish governments continued denialist policy, “The Turkish Government’s idea of saying there was no Genocide just defies history. I have seen the victims. I have talked to the victims. And so, this Saturday, which marks the 106th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and I am so relieved, grateful, and moved that we can finally commemorate the anniversary with the knowledge that the Government of the United States, led by Joseph Robinette Biden, has recognized the truth of the Armenian Genocide at last.”
“Armenian Americans across the country share the joy and enthusiasm expressed by Senate Majority Leader Schumer today at the reports that the White House will once and for all recognize the Armenian Genocide. We are forever grateful to Leader Schumer for his genuine friendship with Armenia and her global citizens who have tried to heal and have our story recognized for the last 106 years. We are also humbled at the leadership of Chairman Menendez for his tireless, unwavering efforts to bring the U.S. Senate, as well as our Executive Branch under President Joe Biden, to the forefront of leading nations in the world to recognize the historical truth of 1915.” stated FLArmenians.com Editor Taniel Koushakjian.
WASHINGTON, DC – Last month, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led 37 of his Senate colleagues in requesting the Biden administration join the U.S. Congress in officially recognizing the Ottoman Turkish Empire’s genocide against the Armenian people. To date, no U.S. president has made it U.S. policy to affirm the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide, which lasted from 1915 to 1923 and resulted in the forced deportation of around 2 million Armenians, 1.5 million of whom were brutally killed.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has cosponsored every Armenian Genocide recognition resolution since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, was one of the signatories in urging the Biden administration to follow suit this April 24th.
“We join the Armenian community in the United States and around the world in honoring the memory of these victims, and we stand firmly against attempts to pretend that this intentional, organized effort to destroy the Armenian people was anything other than a genocide,” the Senators wrote in a letter to President Biden. “You have correctly stated that American diplomacy and foreign policy must be rooted in our values, including respect for universal rights. Those values require us to acknowledge the truth and do what we can to prevent future genocides and other crimes against humanity.”
Beyond recognizing the facts of the Ottoman Empire’s systematic extermination of Armenians, the Senators stressed that the move would rectify the executive branch’s position regarding the Genocide by aligning it with congressional consensus as well as President Biden’s previous remarks.
“Administrations of both parties have been silent on the truth of the Armenian Genocide. We urge you to break this pattern of complicity by officially recognizing that the Armenian Genocide was a genocide,” added the Senators.
Menendez has led a decades long fight to honor the memory of those who perished during the Armenian genocide, calling for a U.S. foreign policy that reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. On December 12, 2019, the Senate unanimously passed Menendez’s Senate Resolution affirming the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide, making clear that U.S. policy must reject efforts to deny the truth of this tragedy.
Joining Chairman Menendez in signing the letter to President Biden were Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ed Markey (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Gary Peters (D-MO), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Find a copy of the letter HERE and below.
Dear President Biden:
We write today to strongly urge you to officially recognize the truth of the Armenian Genocide. In the past you have recognized the Armenian Genocide as genocide, including in your Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day statement during the 2020 campaign. We call on you to do so again as President to make clear that the U.S. government recognizes this terrible truth.
From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire systematically sought to eliminate the Armenian population, killing 1.5 million Armenians and driving hundreds of thousands more from their homeland. We join the Armenian community in the United States and around the world in honoring the memory of these victims, and we stand firmly against attempts to pretend that this intentional, organized effort to destroy the Armenian people was anything other than a genocide. You have correctly stated that American diplomacy and foreign policy must be rooted in our values, including respect for universal rights. Those values require us to acknowledge the truth and do what we can to prevent future genocides and other crimes against humanity.
In December 2019, after decades of obstruction, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution affirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide. The House also overwhelmingly passed its own resolution recognizing the facts of the Armenian Genocide in 2019. We appreciate that in your April 2020 Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day statement you pledged “to support a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” but Congress has already made its position clear. It is time for executive branch to do so as well.
As you said in your Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day statement last April, “It is particularly important to speak these words and commemorate this history at a moment when we are reminded daily of the power of truth, and of our shared responsibility to stand against hate — because silence is complicity.” Administrations of both parties have been silent on the truth of the Armenian Genocide. We urge you to break this pattern of complicity by officially recognizing that the Armenian Genocide was a genocide.