*Albright’s written response fails to address question raised at Congressional Hearing. Gore refuses to acknowledge Ottoman Turkey’s systematic and deliberate campaign of massacres and deportations as Genocide.
WASHINGTON–After more than a month a half delay–Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has submitted an evasive written response to a Congressional inquiry on the State Department’s backing for Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide–reported the Armenian National Committee of America. Meanwhile–Vice President Al Gore–writing in response to a letter from the Armenian American Democratic Leadership Council–again failed to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide–and avoided concerns raised nationally by Armenian American Democrats that he has retreated from his principled stand on the recognition of the first genocide of this century.
The Secretary’s written response to the question–posed by Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.) during a February 25th hearing of the US House International Relations Committee–failed to address the central issue in his inquiry–namely that "complicity in Turkey’s denial represents a serious moral failing on the part of the Administration and undermines our standing as an impartial mediator in the current conflicts in the region."
"We share Congressman Radanovich’s view that the State Department’s complicity in Turkey’s genocide denial represents a serious moral failing," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
"We are troubled by the Secretary’s failure to address this concern–her willingness to overlook Turkey’s aggressive policies toward Armenia–and by her failure to use the correct term–’genocide,’ to describe Turkey’s systematic and deliberate destruction of the Armenian people between 1915 and 1923."
"As the Secretary should know–Armenia has consistently offered to establish normal relations with Turkey–without preconditions. It is Turkey that has rejected this offer–and Turkey that actively denies the Armenian Genocide–that blockades US humanitarian aid to Armenia–and whose leaders periodically threaten to teach the Armenia’s the ‘lessons of 1915,’" he added.
In a March 23 letter–the AADLC specifically called upon the Vice President to address why he had retreated from the principled stand he had taken as a US Senator–most notably in his vote in 1990 for the Armenian Genocide resolution.
The AADLC asked Vice President Gore to explain why he had specifically and repeatedly failed to use the word "genocide" to describe Ottoman Turkey’s systematic and deliberate destruction of the Armenian people. "This policy of not using the term genocide," the AADLC noted in its letter–"is reflected–to the best of our knowledge–in all your official statemen’s and throughout your public record as Vice President."
In his April 15 response–addressed to AADLC Executive Director Alex Sardar–Vice President Gore avoided this issue–making no mention of his reversal of policy since becoming Vice President. The Vice President’s letter (see attached) notes–instead–that "It is with a great sense of sorrow that we annually commemorate Armenian Remembrance Day. Last year–on April 24–President Clinton once again issued a declaration solemnly observing the memory of the victims of one of the darkest chapters in the history of this century–the deportations and massacre of a million and a half Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923."
"We are–first and foremost–saddened by the Vice President’s refusal to characterize Ottoman Turkey’s deliberate annihilation of its Armenian population as genocide," said Executive Director Alex Sardar. "At the same time–we are troubled by the Vice President’s failure to address the specific concern raised in our correspondence. An evasive response such as this does not reflect the level of accountability we have the right to expect from our elected officials. Vice President Gore has clearly reversed policy. We simply want to know why."
Concerned Democrats can contact the office of the Vice President’s political advisor–Maurice Daniel–by calling (202) 456-9029.