Turkish Daily News
Jan 22 2007
Dink’s murder a reminder of need for genocide recognition, US
Monday, January 22, 2007
WASHINGTON – Turkish Daily News
U.S. Armenian organizations have called on President George W.
Bush’s administration to drop efforts to prevent Congress from formally
recognizing the Armenian genocide, especially at a time when the
assassination of prominent Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink
illustrates "Turkey’s campaign of denial and intolerance."
"In light of this terrible tragedy, it is all the more inappropriate
for the administration to oppose congressional reaffirmation of the
Armenian Genocide," said Hirair Hovnanian, chairman of the board of
trustees for the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), according to an
AAA statement following Dink’s killing. "In memory of Hrant Dink,
we reaffirm our commitment to fight for universal reaffirmation
of the Armenian genocide," he added. AAA Executive Director Bryan
Ardouny also expressed his sorrow at Hrant’s assassination, saying,
"Sadly 92 years after the start of the Armenian genocide, Hrant Dink
is now the latest victim of Turkey’s outrageous campaign of denial
and intolerance."~S[This] brutal murder serves as a wake up call to
the United States and the entire international community to unite
together in ending forever the Turkish government’s denial of the
Armenian genocide," said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)
Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Hrant Dink’s murder is tragic proof
that the Turkish government – through its campaign of denial, threats
and intimidation against the recognition of the Armenian genocide –
continues to fuel the same hatred and intolerance that initially led
to this crime against humanity more than 90 years ago," said Hamparian
in an ANCA statement.In a CNN-International interview, he said that
Dink’s murder was a terrible tragedy, but not entirely a surprise,
"in light of the environment of escalating intolerance intimidation
created by the Turkish government against those who openly acknowledge
the Armenian genocide." The AAA and ANCA are the two largest U.S.
Armenian organizations. Dink, 52, the editor of Turkish-Armenian
newspaper Agos, was gunned down outside his newspaper’s office in
Istanbul on Friday, causing a huge wave of protests inside and outside
Turkey. Police on Sunday detained a teenage suspect over the slaying.
The journalist had stood trial several times for his public comments on
the genocide, and was convicted last year for "insulting Turkishness"
under a much criticized article of Turkey’s penal code; he received a
six-month suspended sentence.Pro-Armenian lawmakers in U.S. Congress
are gearing up for the introduction of a fresh resolution in the House
of Representatives classifying World War I-era killing of Armenians
in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
Originally the resolution was expected to come last week, but its
sponsors decided to wait for another week or so in an effort to
maximize the number of legislators backing the measure in writing.
The AAA said late last week that the resolution would be formally
introduced in the House before the end of January.
The Washington administration strongly condemned Dink’s assassination,
calling on Turkish authorities to bring those responsible to
justice. But State Department officials said that official U.S. policy
on the last century’s Armenian killings in the last days of World
War I was unchanged. Successive U.S. administrations have declined to
qualify the Armenian killings as genocide so as not to alienate Turkey,
also urging Congress to refrain from genocide recognition. However,
the new Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives,
including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backs the genocide resolution’s
passage.U.S. Armenians want the resolution’s approval in a full House
floor vote before April 24, designated by U.S. presidents as the day
of remembrance of the Armenian tragedy.