SoCal Armenian-Americans demand US recognition of Armenian genocide

San Jose Mercury News, CA
Monterey County Herald, CA
April 20 2004

SoCal Armenian-Americans demand U.S. recognition of Armenian genocide

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – A delegation from Southern California joined scores of
other Armenian-Americans in Washington, D.C. to demand official U.S.
recognition of a genocide they say was perpetrated by the Ottoman

The representatives joined a gathering of about 350
Armenian-Americans for the Armenian National Assembly’s two-day
conference, where they also urged increased foreign assistance for
their homeland and better trade relations with the United States.

Southern California is home to about 400,000 Armenian-Americans, the
largest such community in the nation.

Assembly members were buoyed Monday by a State Department
announcement that the Bush administration supports permanent normal
trade relations with Armenia.

But members acknowledged that with Turkey on the front lines of the
war on terror, they won’t see the phrase “Armenian genocide” in
official U.S. statements anytime soon.

“I’m sure President Bush will issue a statement on the anniversary
about ‘those dark days’ or ‘those massacres,'” said Osheen Keshishian
of Los Angeles, who publishes the Armenian Observer, an
English-language weekly based in Hollywood.

Keshishian, who also teaches at Glendale Community College, said the
issue remains a burning one for Armenians in the United States.

“The point is, justice has to prevail. Truth has to prevail,” he

Armenian-Americans allege 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a
genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923.
Turkish officials say far fewer people died amid a multiparty

Tuluy Tanc, the minister-consular at the Turkish embassy in
Washington, D.C., called the term genocide “unfair and untrue.”

“We do not think or believe a genocide occurred in Turkey,” Tanc
said. “Events in Turkey were, during the course of a world war,
tremendously unhappy. Events took place affecting Armenians, Muslims,
Turks and all components of the Ottoman Empire.”