ANCA formally invites Secretary Kerry to attend Armenian Genocide observance

The ANCA has formally invited John Kerry, as Secretary of State, to attend the same Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide observance that he addressed during his tenure as a U.S. Senator.

The complete text of the ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian letter to Secretary Kerry is provided below:

“Dear Secretary Kerry:

I am writing to you and your Department of State colleagues to the annual Armenian Genocide commemoration on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 24th.

As you may know, senior Administration officials, including those from the National Security Vouncil and the State Department, frequently participated in Armenian Genocide Observances as recently as the late 1990s. Unfortunately, we have, by all accounts, witnessed a sharp departure from this tradition, even as we have seen increased participation by Administration representatives in programs hosted by organizations, both foreign and domestic, that actively and openly deny this atrocity against humanity. Among these organizations are the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Turkic American Alliance, American Turkish Council and others who join with Ankara in seeking to enforce a gag-rule on American condemnation of a still unpunished crime that continues to hold profound moral and material meaning for Armenia, Turkey, the United States and the entire international community.

Aside from a handful of US officials silently, sometimes even unofficially, visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, it would seem that, over the past decade and a half, sebior US officials have not paid tribute to the victims of this crime at an Armenian Genocide observance organized by US citizens, here on American soil. This includes, of course, the annual Congressional observances that you have personally addressed and that have been attended, in aggregate, by hundreds of US legislators. In addition, we have not, despite our inquiries to the Department, been informed of even one instance in which the US Embassy in Ankara has been officially represented at Armenian Genocide observances organizes, at great personal risk, by righteous Turks within Turkey.

We are deeply troubled by this retreat and are distressed that our government’s pattern of deference to the irrational and immoral foreign sensitivities of a genocide-denying state is clearly at the expense of our core national and interests and values. We turn to you to start your tenure as Secretary in the right direction on this score by personally participating, along with your Obama Administration colleagues, in the upcoming April 24th Armenian Genocide observance on Capitol Hill and at other prominent commemorative programs in California, New York and across America.

We raise this issue with you in the spirit of the letter we sent you earlier congratulating you on your swearing-in as Secretary of State and noting how very pleased we were to see the Department of State being led by someone with your long and distinguished record of leadership on US recognition of the Armenian genocide. It was in this same context of shared values that we called upon you to invite the broad-based collective Armenian American leadership to pre-April 24th meeting, that we continue to offer you our help in facilitating a continued dialogue with our community, and that we ask you to urge President Obama to honor his as yet unfulfilled pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

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