(CNSNews.com) — Republican and Democrat lawmakers gathered for a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on Tuesday and to call on the United States to officially recognize the deliberate slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks at the start of the 20th century.
At the Hart Senate Office Building, members of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the Congressional Armenian Caucus, the embassies of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and members of the Armenian-American community gathered to hosted an event “to make progress toward an honest and just U.S. policy on the Armenian genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, the ANCA executive director.
“We see Turkey’s denial … [and] its obstruction of justice for the genocide, as a security threat,” said Hamparian. “Not just something from the past, but rather a threat for the future. We think that Armenia would be safer [and] the world would be safer without Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide.”
In 1915-17, the Young Turk Regime in the Ottoman empire implemented a genocide against the Christian Greek, Assyrian, and Armenian minorities, killing over 1.5 million people. To this day, Turkey denies the genocide, although 29 countries have officially recognized it and most historians agree it was a horrific genocide.
The U.S. government has not has recognized the genocide but every U.S. state (except Mississippi) has acknowledged it.
Raffi Hamparian, the ANCA chairman, said, “Turkey’s denial, which has been perpetrated in the United States for too many years for too many decades ... is coming to an end. [The denial] has been based on a series of lies, mistruths, misdirection, a gag rule that has been placed on the United States of America.”
During the event, members of Congress expressed their support to the Armenian community. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the co-chair of the Armenian Caucus, said, “I’m very fortunate to represent a very large part of the Armenian community.”
On April 8, Schiff had introduced House Resolution 296,which would federally recognize the Armenian genocide. Although legislation is often introduced to recognize the genocide, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), the lead republican co-sponsor of H. 296, stated during the event, “this year is going to be the year. I really feel it.”
In the senate, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have introduced similar legislation, which would “aim to establish – as a matter of official policy – that the United States is committed to the ongoing commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, forthrightly rejects any and all forms of its denial, and encourages public education regarding the facts and lessons of this crime,” according to a press release from ANCA.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who is half-Armenian, shared her plan to convince President Donald Trump to recognize the Armenian Genocide by stating, “we all need to tweet to Kim Kardashian and ask her… to join us in getting the president to take action.”
Kim Kardashian, an outspoken Armenian, is married to Kanye West, a strong Trump supporter.