The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region on Wednesday endorsed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate in the California presidential primary to be held on June 7. The ANCA-WR believes that Sanders is best positioned to advance foreign policies and international humanitarian principles supported by California’s Armenian-American electorate.
“The Armenian National Committee of America- Western Region is proud to endorse Bernie Sanders in California’s June 7th Democratic presidential primary as the only candidate with a proven record of consistent and strong support for issues that advance the Armenian Cause,” said ANCA-WR Chairwoman Nora Hovsepian.
As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1991-2007) and U.S. Senate (2008-present), Bernie Sanders has supported Armenian Genocide legislation, Section 907 restrictions on U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, and efforts to secure Turkey’s return of confiscated Armenian and other Christian Churches.
As senator and later a presidential candidate in 2008, Clinton supported Armenian-American concerns, including her pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide. However, as Secretary of State, Clinton reneged on her promises and advanced an agenda through which she called the US recognition of the Armenian Genocide “a door that is a very dangerous one to go through” saying that it was a “matter of historical debate” rather than a political decision.
This stood in stark contrast to her pledge as a presidential candidate in 2008 when she unequivocally said: “I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide.” In her book, “Hard Choices” Clinton characterized the Genocide issue as an “emotionally charged conflict” between Turkey and Armenia.
Immediately after assuming office as Secretary of State, Clinton zealously shepherded the intellectually dishonest Armenia-Turkey protocols that posed a threat to Armenia’s national security. Her approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and her failure to properly condemn Azerbaijan’s military threats and aggression, further complicated the fragile peace process and resulted in loss of military and civilian lives in Karabakh.
In assessing the protocols process, as well as her worldview in the region, it is clear that Clinton’s motivations were to advance Azerbaijan’s oil interests over concerns for humanitarian law and human rights.
Clinton explicitly said in “Hard Choices” that the aim of the protocols and other initiatives in the Caucasus was not necessarily to achieve peace but to advance short sighted US corporate interests.
In Clinton’s own words, “The conflict in the Caucasus posed problems for our plans for piping Central Asian natural gas to European markets to lessen their dependence on Russian energy.”
“Based upon Bernie Sanders’ positive legislative record, and in comparison to Hillary Clinton’s troubling opposition to Armenian-American issues as Secretary of State, it is our view that he would, as President, be more supportive of our community’s foreign policy priorities,” explained Hovsepian.
Below is a Sanders’ detailed and consistent record on Armenian-American issues.
104th Congress (1995-1996) – Voted for the Radanovich Amendment to the House Foreign Aid Bill cutting aid to Turkey by $3.0 million, a symbolic amount equaling the annual amount spent by the Turkish Government to lobbying against Armenian Genocide legislation and other top Turkey priorities.
104th Congress (1995-1996) – Voted for the Visclosky Amendment to the House Foreign Aid Bill strengthening the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act, which withheld aid to any country, including Turkey, which obstructs the transit of humanitarian assistance to a third country in need.
105th Congress (1997-1998) – Voted for the Pallone-Radanovich Amendment which maintained Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan due to that country’s ongoing blockades and aggression against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
105th Congress (1997-1998) – Signed a letter to the White House urging it to stop the sale of Seahawk helicopters to Turkey due to the likelihood of their use in committing human rights violations.
106th Congress (1999-2000) – Cosponsor of H. Res. 398, the United States Training on and Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
107th Congress (2001-2002) – Signed April 2002 letter to President Bush urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
108th Congress (2003-2004) – Voted for the Cunningham Amendment cutting aid to Turkey for undermining U.S. priorities in Iraq.
108th Congress (2003-2004) – Signed April 2003 letter to President Bush urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
108th Congress (2003-2004) – Signed April 2004 letter to President Bush urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
112th Congress (2011-2012) – Cosponsor of S. Res. 392, Return of Churches Resolution, which urges the Republic of Turkey to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties.
112th Congress (2011-2012) – Cosponsor of S. Res. 399, Armenian Genocide Resolution, which calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.