Sunday, 1 April 2007


Web: Armenian Assembly of America

Washington, DC - The Armenian Assembly of America today
commended the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for approving
S. Res. 65, condemning the assassination of Hrant Dink and urging
Turkey to abolish Article 301, which fuels anti-Armenian sentiments
and precipitated this heinous crime.

The legislation, which was introduced by Committee Chairman
Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE), passed by voice vote. S. Res. 65 takes
a strong stand on the policies and practices of the Turkish govern-
ment by calling on Ankara to repeal Article 301 of the Turkish penal
code and "work diligently to foster a more open intellectual environ-
ment in the country that is conducive to the free exchange of ideas."

The resolution also states that Dink "was subjected to legal action
under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code for referring to the 1915
massacre of Armenians as genocide."

"Hrant Dink was a man of strong conviction who wanted, above all,
to foster greater understanding and respect between Turks and
Armenians," said Biden. "His assassination is one more tragic
reminder of why Turkey needs to reform its laws and allow for an
open discussion of events surrounding the Armenian Genocide.
It should never be a crime to speak the truth."

"The Armenian Assembly thanks Chairman Biden for his leadership
and thanks Members of the Committee for their timely consideration
of this issue," said Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "Hrant Dink
was a law-abiding citizen who believed in democratic ideals and
peaceful change. It is only fitting that in his memory Congress has
taken a strong stand against attempts to intimidate journalists and
scholars, and roundly condemned the criminalization of the mere
mention of the Armenian Genocide."

"Armenians, and all other minorities in Turkey, must be
protected," Ardouny continued.

As an outspoken advocate for democratic reform and greater
understanding between Armenians and Turks, Dink worked
tirelessly to improve relations between the two communities.
As a fierce defender of freedom of the press and founder of
Agos newspaper, Dink wanted to publish his views openly.
For his efforts, he was unfairly targeted by Turkish nationalists
who labeled him a "traitor," and was repeatedly prosecuted
for allegedly "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301.

Also pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is
S. Res. 106, the Armenian Genocide resolution. The legislation,
introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Senator Richard J. Durbin
(D-IL) and Senator John Ensign (R-NV), would reaffirm the U.S.
record on the crimes of 1915.

"Passage of this legislation is also paramount," Ardouny added. "To
prevent future killings, we must affirm the historical truth and end
the`vicious cycle of genocide denial."

The next step in the legislative process is consideration of S. Res. 65
by the full Senate.

For more information on Hrant Dink, including Assembly statements,
media`coverage and photographs, please visit the Hrant Dink Resource
Page on the Assembly's Web site at:

The Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington
based nationwide organization promoting public understanding
and awareness ofArmenian issues. It is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt
membership organization.

Gates Denounces Armenian Genocide Resolution AP

The U.S. defense secretary said Tuesday that both Turkey and
the United States needlessly damage their relations by sniping
at each other and said they should stop it.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates mentioned no concrete examples
but clearly referred to a resolution pending in the U.S. Congress
that would accuse Turkey's predecessor state of committing
genocide against its Armenian neighbors a century ago.

"Our two nations should oppose measures and rhetoric that
needlessly and destructively antagonize each other," Gates said
in a speech to the American Turkish Council, a business group
that promotes U.S.-Turkish relations.

Gates continued: "That includes symbolic resolutions by the United
States Congress as well as the type of anti-American and extremist
rhetoric that sometimes finds a home in Turkish political discourse."

Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent joint identical
letters two weeks ago to House leader Nancy Pelosi and the
chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Tom Lantos,
both Democrats, and the leader of the Republican minority,
John Boehner, that saidpassage of the resolution would put U.S.
security at risk.

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