STOCKHOLM — A Turkish lawmaker last week harshly criticized a prominent US senator for prioritizing his family relationships at the expense of damaging ties between Turkey and the US, reports

Heading a parliamentary delegation to Washington, D.C., Akif Çağatay Kılıç, chairman of the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed displeasure that his interlocutor, Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not respond to his request for a meeting.

Kılıç claimed Senator Menendez behaved this way because his wife is Armenian and that he did not want to hear the truth about the Armenian genocide.

“We know his wife is in the Armenian diaspora. It’s not right to make moves in politics based on populist and family motives that could damage relations with a country, a parliament and a nation,” Kılıç said.

“It is significant that even a dialogue is not sought here, or at least that a request for an appointment was not answered,” he added.

In April US President Joe Biden formally recognized the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide, making him the first US president to recognize the massacre as an act of genocide.

The Turkish delegation last week met with several senators and members of the House of Representatives, among them Ron Johnson and Jim Risch from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chaired by Menendez. The delegation also met representatives from the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and the US Chamber of Commerce. The delegates also joined a round table discussion with several experts on Turkish-American relations at the Washington office of the Turkish government-funded SETA think tank.

Contrary to Kılıç’s claim, Senator Menendez has long worked for the official recognition of the Armenian genocide. A quick study of his Capitol Hill record suggests that his position on the Armenian issue has been unwavering, and he was known for his pro-Armenian stance long before he was elected to the Senate in 2006. Menendez married his Armenian fiancée Nadine Arslanian in 2020 after dating for several years. The couple is said to have first met in 2011. He previously sponsored many resolutions for recognition of the genocide. In 2009 Menendez himself introduced a Senate resolution that called on the president to officially recognize “the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as genocide.” In April 2019 he submitted a non-binding resolution with a bipartisan group of 15 senators including then-Senator Kamala Harris, who is now vice president of the United States.

Nordic Monitor previously published secret documents which revealed that Kılıç, who is also vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), had past links to a one-time al-Qaeda financier from Saudi Arabia. According to the document Kılıç, a former aide to President Erdoğan, was identified as having developed a relationship with Yasin al-Qadi, listed as an al-Qaeda financier on both the US Treasury and UN lists for many years, and his son Muaz al-Qadi (Kadıoğlu). The document, which was stamped “secret,” detailed an intercepted communication of Kılıç with al-Qadi’s son. The two sounded very friendly on the phone according to a readout from the transcript.

  1. The way this Turkish man commented so “unprofessionally” on someone’s family, especially targeting Armenians is deplorable. The fact cannot be gainsaid that the Armenian genocide happened on a pretty lavish scale.

    The Turkish state is a mastermind of what happened 106 years ago. Furthermore, the war that happened recently in Artsakh was just another wave of well planned ‘legal’ genocide.

  2. Someone needs to expose Erdogan’s jihadist criminal behavior throughout Iraq, Syria, Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh .

  3. With deep disappointment , I have to say that it won’t happen till the time these western powers, “especially the NATO, keep profiting from him and appeasing him as much as they have in the past.

    They seem to flatter him too much. For what? For Genocide of a race of peaceful, smart and family-oriented people who were scientists, writers, actors, businessmen and had a strong hold on businesses of Baku, Tbilisi and of course Yerevan?

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