Today's Zaman, Turkey
July 30 2014

Armenian group criticize US nominee for Turkey envoy

July 30, 2014, Wednesday/ 17:37:38/ TODAY'S ZAMAN / ISTANBUL


The US-based Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said on
Monday that the US must be represented in Ankara by a clear and
compelling voice for truth.

`We oppose Turkey's gag-rule and all who accept Ankara's veto over
America's right to speak with moral clarity about the Armenian
Genocide. The US must be represented in Ankara on April 24th of 2015
by a clear and compelling voice for truth," the director, Aram
Hamparian, said in a written statement.

John Bass was nominated to be the new ambassador to Turkey by US
President Barack Obama and delivered his testimony along with four
other ambassadorial nominees during a hearing at the Senate Committee
on Foreign Relations on July 15.

Ankara's policy is that the 1915 events do not amount to genocide, and
Turkey argues that both Turks and Armenians were killed when Armenians
revolted against the Ottoman Empire during World War I in
collaboration with the Russian army, which was then invading Eastern
Anatolia.

`It is simply unacceptable -- six years after President Obama pledged
to recognize the Armenian Genocide, five years after Ankara walked
away from the Turkey-Armenia reconciliation protocols, and less than a
year away from the 100th anniversary of the start of this still
unpunished crime -- for a US ambassadorial nominee to respond to
direct Senate questioning on the Armenian genocide with generic
references to 'shared history',' the statement read.

Hamparian claimed that the `euphemistic language' of Bass during the
questioning aimed to downgrade a genocidal crime to a bilateral
conflict.

`The ANCA cannot support the nomination of John Bass to serve as US
Ambassador to Turkey, on the basis of his Senate testimony that
compounds President Obama's broken pledge to recognize the Armenian
Genocide by retreating even further from the truth and tightening
Turkey's gag-rule on the US government,' he added in the statement.

In a historical first for the Turkish Republic, Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip ErdoÄ?an extended condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians
who lost their lives in 1915.

His surprising statement came ahead of April 24, when Armenians
commemorate the events of 1915-1923 that they call genocide.

`It is our hope and belief that the peoples of an ancient and unique
geography, who share similar customs and manners, will be able to talk
to each other about the past with maturity and to remember together
their losses in a decent manner. And it is with this hope and belief
that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of
the early 20th century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to
their grandchildren,' said ErdoÄ?an's statement.

However, not satisfied with ErdoÄ?an's condolences, Hamparian said, on
April 23, `Increasingly isolated internationally, Ankara is repacking
its genocide denials.'

"Prime Minister ErdoÄ?an, in his statement today, attempts, in vain, to
escape responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, by somehow
downgrading this still unpunished international crime to the level of
a simple, unresolved bilateral conflict. Neither the facts nor any of
the world's commonly accepted codes of law or morality support this
twisted view,' Hamparian added.

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