WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress returns next week to complete its legislative business for 2016, the Armenian Assembly of America has renewed its call for Members to withdraw from the Turkish and Azeri caucuses in light of the increasingly authoritarian regimes there and pattern of behavior, including Azerbaijan’s attacks against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh earlier this year. The Azeri initiated military offensive which was supported by the Turkish military took the lives of innocent civilians, including the gruesome mutilation of an elderly Armenian couple as well as ISIS-like beheadings.
“Whatever your prior reasons for standing in solidarity with the Turkish and Azeri regimes, we cannot imagine that any American would continue to do so in the face of recent events. To do so would condone such behavior,” stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “As the country reflects on the 2016 election and takes stock, now too is the time to revisit our policies vis-à-vis Turkey and Azerbaijan,” they continued. “We, therefore, strongly urge Members of the Turkish and Azeri caucuses to withdraw their support and speak out against such heinous acts.”
During the campaign, president-elect Trump stated that the Turkish government “looks like they’re on the side of ISIS more or less based on the oil.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to push the boundaries while knowingly helping himself instead of nations fighting ISIS and the thousands of innocent civilians dying as a result.
The Turkish Caucus has now lost 19 Members in the U.S. House of Representatives, including former Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), who resigned earlier this year amid an ethics probe, as well as Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) who was defeated in the Maryland democratic primary by Armenian Caucus Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Van Hollen went on to win his election to the U.S. Senate.