Armenian group hails 2011 as year of success
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsThe head of the largest and most influential U.S. Armenian group has declared 2011 as a year of great progress for the Armenian cause against Turkey while requesting more donations from Armenian-Americans to bolster the cause.
There were a number of pro-Armenian developments inside and outside the U.S. Congress last year, Ken Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), said in a statement released over the weekend.
“The historic adoption by the U.S. House of H. Res. 306, demanding Turkey return stolen Christian churches, sounded our call for reparations loud and clear,” he said. “The high-profile failure of the president’s deeply flawed nomination of Matt Bryza challenged the State Department’s ‘business-as-usual’ approach to Azerbaijan’s alarming march toward war. And, across the Atlantic, the adoption last week by the French Parliament of an anti-Armenian Genocide denial law set the stage for a renewed worldwide push in 2012 for a truthful and just resolution of this crime against humanity.”
H. Res. 306, a non-binding resolution approved last year by the House of Representatives, Congress’s lower chamber, calls for the return of properties confiscated from Turkey’s Christian minorities over the past century. U.S. Armenians had accused Bryza, who was nominated by President Barack Obama as ambassador to Baku in 2009, of being overtly pro-Turkish. Two pro-Armenian senators had placed a hold on him, and the Senate failed to organize a vote on him last year, forcing him to quit his job.
Late last month, the lower house in the French Parliament passed a bill criminalizing the denial of what Armenians and their supporters call the “Armenian genocide.” The French Senate may hold a vote on that bill later this month despite Turkish warnings that the bill’s adoption would lead to a deterioration in ties in a major and lasting way. Armenians describe the World War I-era killings of their kinsmen in the Ottoman Empire as “genocide.” Turkey rejects the claim and says Turks and Muslims were also killed in ethnic strife in eastern Anatolia toward the end of the war.
Hachikian also urged U.S. Armenians to donate funds to ANCA to contribute the fight against Turkey.
“With your faith and renewed financial support, we will do so much more,” he said. “Will you consider giving $60, $100, $250 or more to empower us to fight for our rights? Any amount makes a difference, even a gift of $10.”