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From left reappointed ARF ministers Levon Mkrtchyan, Artsvik Minasyan and Davit Lokyan

YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Wednesday reappointed the three members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation who served in the cabinet prior to the April election, thus completing the appointments to the new cabinet.

Levon Mkrtchyan, Davit Lokyan and Artsvik Minasyan were reappointed as ministers of education, territorial administration and environmental protection respectively.

The ARF and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia on May 11 signed a new coalition agreement that will see the two political forces in an alliance until the 2022 parliamentary elections.

The new coalition agreement cements the two parties agreement for what they see as better governance, with pledges to fight corruption, introduce reforms that would improve the economic situation in Armenia and take measure to guarantee the security of the nation.

“There are three core values set out as the basis of our cooperation. The overall security of Armenia and Artsakh, the economy and economic development, and our common resolve to make qualitative, fundamental changes in the country, said ARF’s Aghvan Vardanyan after the signing of the agreement earlier this month.

Also on Wednesday, the president reappointed Artak Asatryan as labor and social services minister. On Tuesday, Sarkisian reappointed Levon Altounyan as health minister; Armen Amiryan as culture minister; Hratchya Rostomyan as minister of sports and youth affairs; and Davit Tonoyan as minister of emergency situations.

On May 25, Sarksiain appointed David Harutunyan as Justice Minister replacing the outgoing Arpine Hovannesyan, who resigned her post and currently is a deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

On the same day, Edward Nalbandian and Vigen Sargsyan were re-appointed to their posts as foreign and defense ministers.

Vache Gabrielyan was re-appointed as minister of economic integration and reforms. He will also continue in his office as vice prime minister; Suren Karayan was reinstalled as minister of economic development and investments; Ignati Arakelyan was re-appointed as minister of agriculture; Ashot Manukyan will continue in his post as minister of energy infrastructures and natural resources; Vahan Martirosyan was re-appointed as minister of transport, communication and information technologies; and Hranush Hakobyan and Vardan Aramyan were re-appointed as ministers of Diaspora and finance respectively.

TBILISI, Georgia (ArmRadio)—Azerbaijan is worried by the sale of Russian Iskander missile systems to Armenia and the provision of other armaments free of charge or at domestic prices.

Representatives of Azerbaijan raised the issue at NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Tbilisi, Head of the Armenian delegation Koryun Nahapetyan told reporters on Thursday.

“We made it clear that Armenia is just restoring the balance of power in the region, and this is what the purchase of Iskander systems is aimed at,” he said.

“Baku forgets the millions it spends on the modernization of its arsenal and the fact that Azerbaijan retains a leading role in the world with the level of militarization,” the lawmaker stated.

 

ՈՒԱՇԻՆԿԹԸՆ, «Ամերիկայի Ձայն».- Ինչպէս հաղորդած էին, մայրաքաղաք Ուաշինկթընի մէջ Թուրքիոյ նախագահ Ռեչեփ Թայիփ Էրտողանի թիկնապահներուն եւ անոր կողմնակիցներուն մասնակցութեամբ Մայիս 16ին տեղի ունեցած ծեծկռտուքին ընթացքին խոշտանգուածներէն մէկը անցեալ տարուան ապրիլեան քառօրեայ պատերազմին ընթացքին դաժանաբար սպաննուած Քիարամ Սլոյեանի հարազատը, ազգութեամբ եզիտի Լուսի Ուսոյեանըն էր։

Ան կը տեղեկացնէ, թէ արդէն իսկ իրաւաբանական շարք մը գրասենեակներ հետը կապի մէջ մտած են եւ այժմ կը քննուի, թէ ո՞ր հիմնարկը դատ պիտի բանայ Անգարայի նկատի դէմ, նկատի ունենալով օտար կառավարութեանց դէմ անոնց անցեալի դատերուն յաջողութեան տարողութիւնը։

0531Lucy Usoyan «Լաւանում եմ. մի քիչ դժուար է, սովոր չեմ, բայց լաւանում եմ», ըսած է Հայաստան ծնած եւ այժմ Ամերիկայի եզիտի համայնքի գործիչներէն՝ Լիւսի Ուսոյեան, աւելցնելով միջադէպին մասին հետեւեալ մանրամասնութիւնները.

«Ցոյցը սկսուեց Սպիտակ տան առջեւ, քանի որ մենք մտահոգուած էինք Էրտողանի այցով Սպիտակ տուն՝ կարծելով, որ ժողովրդավարութիւնը չյարգող անձը չպէտք է իրաւունք ունենայ հիւրընկալուել Սպիտակ տանը, որը ժողովրդավարութեան խորհրդանիշն է: Սպիտակ տան առջեւ ցոյցի անվտանգութիւնն ապահովում էին բազմաթիւ ոստիկաններ եւ յատուկ ջոկատայիններ։ Մենք կարող էինք անվտանգ բարձրաձայնել մեր պահանջները Սպիտակ տան առջեւ, սակայն Թուրքիոյ դեսպանի նստավայրին առջեւ կացութիւնը փոխուեց։ Հոն արդէն հաւաքուել էր Ռեչեփ Էրտողանի կողմնակիցների մի խումբ: Մի քանի րոպէ բողոքը խաղաղ էր ընթանում, սակայն, լինելով առաջնագծում, ես տեսայ, որ Էրտողանի կողմնակիցների խմբին միացաւ մէկ այլ խումբ: Այդ մարդիկ բացարձակապէս այլ կերպ էին հագնուած՝ խակի գոյնի վերնաշապիկներով, վարժուած, թիկնեղ, արեւային ակնոցներով եւ զինուորական կօշիկներով: Անոնք վազեցին Թուրքիայի նախագահի դէմ ցուցարարների ուղղութեամբ եւ սկսեցին հարուածել»

Տեսագրութեան վրայ կ՛երեւի, թէ ինչպէս քանի մը տղամարդ կը հարուածէն գետն ինկած Լուսիին։

«Յանկարծ ես գետնին յայտնուեցի, չգիտակցելով նոյնիսկ, թէ ինչպէս են ինձ վայր նետել, եւ յաջորդ բանը որ յիշում եմ` ինչպէս է ինչ-որ մէկն անընդհատ հարուածում գլխիս: Այնուհետեւ գիտակցութիւնս կորցրեցի, իսկ երբ բացեցի աչքերս, զգացի, որ գետնին եմ: Արամ Համբարեանն ինձ օգնեց ոտքի կանգնել, եւ ես տեսայ, որ մեր ցոյցի մասնակիցներից շատերը վիրաւորուած են, արիւնոտ, մի բան, որ ինձ ցնցեց, քանի որ ես նման բռնութեան պատրաստ չէի», աւելցուցած է ան:

Հարուածներէն Ուսոյեան ուղեղի վնասուածք ստացած է, որու ապաքինման համար 6-8 շաբաթ կը պահանջուի: Սակայն, ամէն ինչ կրնար աւելի վատ ըլլար, եթէ ոստիկանները չմիջամտէին։

«Նրանք փոքր խմբով փորձում էին պաշտպանել մեզ, տեսագրութեան վրայ երեւում է, ինչպէս է ոստիկանը փորձում քաշել ինձ հարուածող մարդկանց: Ցուցարարները որեւէ կերպ չէին փորձեր սադրել Էրտողանի կողմնակիցներին, այլ խաղաղ իրենց բողոքն ու Էրտողանի քննադատութիւնն էին բարձրաձայնում փողոցի հակառակ կողմում։ Մի գուցէ, նրանք սովոր չեն քննադատութեան, դա կարող է լինել պատճառ: Սակայն, մենք ապրում ենք ժողովրդավար ժամանակաշրջանում, սա 21րդ դարն է եւ անհրաժեշտ է հանդուրժող լինել կամ էլ հաշուի առնել, թէ ինչու են մարդիկ բողոքում։ Ոչ մի կառավարութիւն, ոչ միայն թուրքականը, չունի իրաւունք գալ այս երկիր, ծեծի ենթարկել Ամերիկայի քաղաքացիների, եւ անպատասխան մնալ: Հայաստանն այն պետութիւնն է, որտեղ ես ծնուել եմ եւ որը մէկ դարից աւելի բազմաթիւ եզիտիների հայրենիքն է դարձել: Մենք, բոլոր հայաստանցիներս, պէտք է ոտքի կանգնենք յանուն իրաւունքի, արդարութիւն եւ Հայոց Ցեղասպանութեան ճանաչում պահանջենք», եզրակացուցած է ան:

By Lilly Torosyan

NEW YORK (A.W.)—In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of, and interest in, exhuming the stories of Islamized Armenians in Turkey. Though filmmaker Nezahat Gündoğan did not initially seek to portray the account of this “hidden” community, after researching the project for four years, she determined that it absolutely had to be told. Her documentary, The Children of Vank (“Vank’in Çocuklari”), weaves together the stories of an Islamized Armenian family who survived both the 1915 Armenian Genocide and the Dersim Massacre of 1938, unraveling the truth behind their lost Armenian identity.

The English poster of The Children of Vank (Courtesy of Kazim Gundogan)

On April 26, Columbia University screened the film to a diverse audience. A discussion then followed with Gündoğan, Oral Historian Eylem Delikanli, and demography and Armenian village history expert George Aghjayan. Dr. Khatchig Mouradian moderated the discussion, which centered on the importance of unearthing the stories of Islamized Armenians in Turkey and accepting their experiences as intangible contributions to our collective and ethnographic history. “I want to welcome [Islamized Armenians] into the family and remove them from the column of the dead,” said an impassioned Aghjayan. The event was sponsored by the Armenian Center at Columbia University, Research Institute on Turkey, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)/Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Lecture Series on Contemporary Armenian Issues.

The Children of Vank adds to the discourse of Islamized Armenians in an understated way. After conducting exhaustive research on the subject matter, the filmmaker assumed the backdrop to the stories of these individuals. Though the film’s structure is mainly in interview format, the viewer never sees or hears the interviewer. Each “set” of family members speak separately to the camera about their broken memories, with only their first names listed against a black screen. Eventually, all of the stories come together in this arduous campaign to unmask the truth.

The film begins with Zeynep, a schoolteacher who lives in Izmir. About a decade ago, she inadvertently discovered that her mother was born in Dersim as an Armenian, and, following the 1938 Massacre, was forcibly adopted, her name changed from Aslıhan Kiremitçiyan to Fatma Kiremitçi, and lived the rest of her life as a Sunni Turk. This leads Zeynep on a journey to find her lost relatives—namely her mother’s sister. The film then traces the stories of several other members of the family as they discover their Armenianness and connection to their lost relatives and lands.

After losing contact for over 70 years, the family attempts to find each other and reconnect, despite living in different parts of the world, ascribing to differing ethno-religious identities, and even after their immediate relatives have passed. They speak about their lost Armenian identities, raising themes of ethno-religious belonging, the fragmentation and politicization of memory, and the painful legacy of genocide that continues to haunt Islamized Armenians today.

Prior to the Dersim Massacres, the Surb Garabed Vank (or St. Garabed Monastery) served the village’s Armenian inhabitants for centuries. The 9th century church was the only Christian place of faith in Dersim that was not destroyed during the Armenian Genocide. Sadly, this fortuitous fate was short lived, as bombings in 1937-8 completely destroyed the once-proud structure, and its last monk was exiled; most of the Armenian and Alevi communities of Dersim were either killed or uprooted. There were, however, instances of Armenians surviving—mostly by acquiring a new identity as a Kurd or Turk. The ‘new’ family represented in this documentary—Fatma, Zeynep, Sultan, Cevahir, Ahmet, Kadriye, Meryem, and Haydar—stand as a testament to the latter group.

Gündoğan calls her film ‘the children of the monastery’ because St. Garabed played such an immense, foundational role in the lives of pre-genocide Dersim Armenians that it served as an allegorical parent for Armenians of the village. The rediscovery and ‘homecoming’ of the Islamized Armenians of Dersim is very much tied to the historical legacy of the vank and what it has bequeathed generations of Armenians.

At The Children of Vank’s premiere in Istanbul in February, Gündoğan stated, “It is hard to be a Kurd, an Alevi, a woman, a homosexual, a child—to be the ‘other’ –in these lands…But being an Armenian is even more difficult. Armenians are seen as ‘the other of the other.’” Much of the same sentiments were echoed at the Columbia University screening.

(L to R) George Aghjayan and Eylem Delikanli at the screening

The current demographic makeup of Dersim (now called Tunceli) is almost exclusively Kurdish, but some experts estimate that well over half of the local population today has Armenian roots. Mihran Prgiç Gültekin, the head of the Union of Dersim Armenians, estimates that about 75% of the village’s population are “converted Armenians.” Just four years ago, Aram Ateşyan, the acting Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, claimed that 90 percent of Tunceli’s population is of Armenian origin.

The Children of Vank is part of a larger effort that Gündoğan and her husband Kazim (who was also a researcher for the film) made to uncover the horrific truth of the Dersim Massacre, which includes two groundbreaking documentaries, Two Locks of Hair: The Missing Girls of Dersim (2010) and Unburied in the Past (2013), and a book, The Missing Girls of Dersim (2012).

The documentary was also screened in Yerevan as part of the Golden Apricot Film Festival last year, and will be screened in different cities in the coming months. The trailer can be viewed below:

 

The screening of the documentary and the panel discussion that followed it concluded a series of successful lectures and discussions organized by the Armenian Center at Columbia University during the Spring 2017 Semester. Other events included a lecture by Dr. Khatchig Mouradian—who served as visiting professor at Columbia in the spring—on the Armenians in China, and a conversation between artists Eric Nazarian and Eric Bogosian moderated by Nicole Vartanian.

Defense Ministers of Armenia and Cyprus Vigen Sargsyan and Christoforos Fokaides discussed avenues for deepening defense ties between the two countries, as they met in Cyprus Monday.

Christoforos Fokaides voiced hope that the first official visit for the Armenian Defense Minister since 20002 would give new impetus to bilateral relations.

According to him, the centuries-old Armenian-Cypriot relations, the common interests and challenges serve as important prerequisites for the deepening the ties. He emphasized the role of Armenians, who established in Cyprus back in the 5th century and served a unique bridge between the two countries.

Armenian Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan, in turn, expressed gratitude for the participation of Cyprus’ President and Parliament Speaker for attending events dedicated to Armenian Genocide centennial in 2015.

Minister Sargsyan said there are two programs for deepening the defense ties – a minimum program, which includes the steps that need to be taken in the coming months, and a maximum program meant for a longer-term cooperation.

Vigen Sargsyan briefed his counterpart on the situation at the Artsakh-Azerbaijan line of contact. The Defense Minister of Cyprus welcomed the Armenian side’s commitment to solve the issue exceptionally in a peaceful way, despite periodic provocations on the part of Azerbaijan.

Following the meeting the parties signed the Action Plan for defense cooperation between Armenia and Cyprus in 2017, as well as an agreement between the Governments of Armenia and Cyprus on mutual protection of secret information.

The city of Monash in Australia’s State of Victoria will consider a motion for recognition of the Pontian, Armenian, and Assyrian genocide during its upcoming meeting.

Monash councilor Theo Zografos told Neos Kosmos that in Friday’s meeting he included a motion for the recognition of the Pontian, Armenian, and Assyrian genocide to be added to an upcoming council meeting agenda, asking for fellow councilors to support him.

“This issue is of great significance to our community and it should have been addressed years ago,” Mr Zografos said.

“So many of our ancestors suffered, and there are so many descendants of those migrants in Monash. People of those background deserve that formal recognition within our local community and then hopefully use that to advocate in other local councils. The more governments push for it, the more chances there are for Turkey to admit and recognize the genocide.”

Although New South Wales and South Australia have already recognized the genocide, Victoria has not despite the large numbers of Pontian, Assyrian, and Armenian populations living in the state. If the motion passes, Monash will be the first local government in Victoria to recognize the genocide.

“We owe it to the many members of our community reach that decision and to me, it is a social justice issue. Genocide is a crime and it should be treated as such,” Mr Zografos added.

Apart from his obligation towards his voters and their interests, the young councilor is personally invested in the matter.

“Even though I was born here and my father was born in Patras, my paternal grandparents were from Aivali, Asia Minor and moved to Greece in the early 1920s.”

“We are very proud of our Greek and Armenian makeup in Monash and that has created a lot of respect towards these ethnic communities. Hopefully, to the best of my knowledge, not to pre-empt the decision, we will be the first council to recognize the Armenian genocide,” he said.

(Armradio) – President Serzh Sargsyan has signed a decree, awarding Henrikh Mkhitaryan with a first-degree Order for “Services to the Motherland.”

The Armenia captain, who has been playing for Manchester United since July 2016, received the order for his ‘brilliant performances and for worthily presenting Armenia to the world.’

Mkhitaryan was on target as Manchester United beat Ajax to win Europa League last Wednesday.

Awards ceremony took place at the Presidential Palace today on the occasion of Republic Day. A group of individuals were awarded by the President of Armenia with high state awards and honorary titles for their contribution to the areas of science, education, healthcare, economy, arts, culture, and sports, efficient work, patriotism, boundless dedication, deepening and expansion of the Armenia-Diaspora relations.

Marchers walk along Victoria Park Avenue in the Armenian Independence Day parade held Sunday, May 28.

Armenians from across Greater Toronto marched through part of Scarborough Sunday, May 28 to mark their homeland’s 99th anniversary of independence, Inside Toronto reports.

Carrying an Armenian flag newly-blessed by Gomidas Panosian, priest at the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto, the procession of more than 800 walked for an hour before returning to the centre on North York’s Hallcrown Place.

The parade was led by 250 youth of the Homenetmen, a scouting group formed in 1918 to organize Armenian youth, including orphaned survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

From the community centre near Sheppard Avenue East and Highway 401, the parade moved north on Victoria Park Avenue, east on Huntingwood Drive, south on Pharmacy Avenue and then west along Sheppard.

“Some might say it’s a dress rehersal for 100,” John Sarkhanian, a parade organizer, said later.

Recognizing the founding day of the First Armenian Republic, it ended with the singing of the country’s anthem and another patriotic song, Sardarabad, about a 1918 battle where Armenian independence from the Ottoman Turks was won 99 years ago.

Danny Margorian, an executive member of the Toronto Homenetmen, said May 28 is celebrated by Armenians around the world.

“We are going to turn this (parade) into an annual event,” he said.

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative honors esteemed Catholic Missionary physician in war-torn Sudan for rekindling faith in humanity.
The $1 Million Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was awarded tonight to Dr. Tom Catena, a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, New York who has saved thousands of lives as the sole doctor permanently based in Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba Mountains where humanitarian aid is restricted. The Aurora Prize, granted by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, was announced at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia. He was selected as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate from more than 550 nominations submitted from 66 countries.
George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor, Co-Founder of both The Sentry and Not On Our Watch, and Co-Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, commended Dr. Catena by stating, “As violence and war continue to threaten people’s spirits and perseverance, it is important to recognize, empower and celebrate people like Dr. Catena who are selflessly helping others to not only survive, but thrive. Dr. Catena is a role model to us all, and yet another example of people on the ground truly making a difference.”
Dr. Catena will receive a $100,000 grant and the opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by donating the accompanying $1,000,000 award to organizations of his choice. Dr. Catena will donate the award to three organizations:
For the last nine years, Dr. Catena – known by locals as “Dr. Tom” – has been on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Mother of Mercy Catholic Hospital to care for the more than 750,000 citizens of Nuba amidst ongoing civil war between the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement. Patients have been known to walk for up to seven days to receive treatment for injuries from bombing attacks and ailments varying from bone fractures to malnourishment and malaria. It is estimated that Dr. Catena treats 500 patients per day and performs more than one thousand operations each year.
On being named the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate, Dr. Catena said, “We all have an obligation to look after our brothers and sisters. It is possible that every single person can make a contribution, and to recognize that shared humanity can lead to a brighter future. With my faith as my guide, I am honored to continue to serve the world and make it a better place.”
“Dr. Catena is an inspiration for to anyone who has ever doubted humanity. Despite tremendous injustice and sacrifice, he has dedicated his life to ensuring that the next generation has a brighter future,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, and Aurora Prize Selection Committee member. “His service to others is an inspiration, and it is our hope that the individuals he has saved will continue the cycle of gratitude by becoming saviors themselves.”
Leading international humanitarian figures and Aurora Prize Selection Committee members, including Gareth Evans, Hina Jilani, Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Ernesto Zedillo and Vartan Gregorian, were in attendance to celebrate the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate.
Dr. Catena was congratulated by Marguerite Barankitse, who was awarded the inaugural Aurora Prize in 2016 for her tireless commitment to restoring children’s dignity and hope as the founder of Maison Shalom and the REMA Hospital in Burundi. She said, “The Aurora Prize is so important to keeping hope alive for people around the world, and I am proud to be joined by such a humble and true role model as Dr. Catena. I applaud his selfless efforts in delivering love to all and congratulate him on this esteemed award.”
Guests of the Aurora Prize Ceremony also honored the exceptional contributions of the other four 2017 Aurora Prize finalists: Ms. Fartuun Adan and Ms. Ilwad Elman, the Founders of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Somalia; Ms. Jamila Afghani, the Chairperson of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization in Afghanistan; Mr. Muhammad Darwish, a medical doctor at the Madaya Field Hospital in Syria; and Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecological surgeon and Founder of the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Dr. Catena embodies the spirit of the Aurora Prize, and we extend our deepest gratitude to him and the people and organizations around the world that support and inspire him to continue his noble work despite immensely challenging conditions,” said Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and United World College at Dilijan. “We are honored to share his story with the world to shed light on the goodwill that exists in the world so that helping others becomes part of our global culture.”
The naming of the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate follows the release of the Aurora Humanitarian Index, the second annual global public opinion survey that gauges attitudes towards humanitarian responsibility, the effectiveness of humanitarian intervention and individuals’ motivations to intervene on behalf of others. The Index found that support for humanitarian action is on a steep decline, and that a rise in populism around the world is affecting the public’s perception of efforts made to aid refugees around the world.
“We hope the findings from this year’s Aurora Humanitarian Index serve as motivation for individuals around the world to not only understand their capacity for meaningful impact, but be inspired to act upon it,” said Noubar Afeyan, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. “Through the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, we encourage those touched by Dr. Catena’s selfless work to make their own mark on the world by expanding the circle of saviors, and most importantly survivors. It is possible for us all to play a role in renewing hope in humanity.”

Ryan Welcomes Committee Passage of H.Res.354; Reps. Bilirakis & Ros-Lehtinen Lead Latest Congressional Rebuke of Erdogan-Ordered Beatings in Washington, D.C.

 

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the May 16th brutal beatings of peaceful protesters by Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards ‘indefensible.’

WASHINGTON—U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the May 16th brutal beatings of peaceful protesters by Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards “indefensible,” praising the leadership of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in securing unanimous committee passage of H.Res.354 condemning this attack, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“The violent crackdown on peaceful protesters by Turkish security forces was completely indefensible, and the Erdogan government’s response was wholly inadequate,” said Speaker Ryan in a statement issued on May 25th. “Turkey is an important NATO ally, but its leaders must fully condemn and apologize for this brutal behavior against innocent civilians exercising their First Amendment rights. In the meantime, we stand fully committed to helping bring all those responsible to justice.”

Speaker Ryan’s comments come following two blistering Congressional events today – the first, the full House Foreign Affairs Committee markup of H.Res.354 and the second, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe hearing on the May 16th violence—during which Members of Congress shared their outrage over Turkey’s efforts to trample on U.S. First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly.

These Congressional meetings were accompanied by a second U.S. House sign-on letter on the attack this week, this latest one led by Congressional Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee senior member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and signed by 38 of their colleagues.

“This is unacceptable in any situation, but even more so when Turkish leaders come and claim to be faithful allies to the United States,” read the Congressional letter, which called for the perpetrators to be sought out and brought to justice. “Turkish personnel based in the U.S. who were involved in the attacks should be declared persona non grata and expelled from the U.S. immediately. Turkish personnel not based in the United States who were involved in the attacks should be barred from entry into the U.S. in the future. Foreign nationals who cannot respect the rule of law of this great country should not be allowed to enjoy the rights and privileges it affords.”

The ANCA’s Aram Hamparian, who testified at the House Foreign Affairs Europe Subcommittee hearing on the topic earlier today, praised Speaker Ryan and the efforts of Representatives Bilirakis and Ros-Lehtinen and all Congressional leaders who have taken a strong stand condemning Turkey’s latest assault on protesters. “This is the now third time that Erdogan’s security forces have attacked Americans on U.S. soil,” said Hamparian. “This time – with viral video, robust social networking, major media attention, and a strong Congressional focus – we are pressing for concrete action – starting with the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador, the lifting of diplomatic immunity, and action on each of the points in H.Res.354.”

Joining Representatives Bilirakis and Ros-Lehtinen in cosigning the Congressional letter were Representatives: Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Leonard Lance (D-Mass.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ted Poe (R-Tex.), Mike Quigley (R-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Carol Shea Porter (D-N.H.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Norma Torres (D-Calif.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).

The complete text of the letter is provided below.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16th attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with think tank leaders. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters – elderly men and several women – who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack. Voice of America Turkish division, in their video coverage shot from the vantage point of the Turkish Ambassador’s house, showed President Erdogan ordering his security detail to attack the protesters, then watching calmly as the beatings were carried out.

The U.S. State Department called the Turkish Ambassador in for a discussion last week regarding the incident, officially expressing their dismay, calling the actions of President Erdogan’s body guards “unacceptable.” President Trump has yet to comment on the matter.

In a highly incendiary move, on Monday, May 22nd, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called in the U.S. Ambassador John Bass for a diplomatic discussion, accusing U.S. police and security personnel of “aggressive and unprofessional actions.”

The protest in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence was a continuation of a demonstration held earlier in the day in front of the White House, co-hosted by the ANCA. As President Trump met with President Erdogan, human rights and religious rights groups were joined by representatives of the Kurdish, Yezidi and Armenian communities to call attention to the Erdogan regime’s escalating repression against free press, the Kurdish and other ethnic communities, as well as Turkey’s ongoing obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide.

***

Text of Bilirakis – Ros-Lehtinen Congressional Letter to Attorney General Sessions and Secretary of State Tillerson

May 25, 2017

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530

The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Tillerson:

We write today to express our outrage over the remorseless acts of violence inflicted upon individuals exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment right to free speech outside the Washington, D.C. residence of the Turkish Ambassador on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Widely circulated video evidence shows and subsequent reports confirm that several members of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail physically assaulted multiple individuals leaving them bloodied and bruised with some having to be hospitalized due to the severity of their injuries.

This behavior is the second time in two years that Turkish security forces have threatened and assaulted U.S. citizens and legal residents on American soil. This is unacceptable in any situation, but even more so when Turkish leaders come and claim to be faithful allies to the United States. This clear disrespect for our laws and those who enforce them, especially during National Police Week, is intolerable.

The individuals involved in Tuesday’s attacks on Americans on U.S. soil must be identified and brought to justice. Turkish personnel based in the U.S. who were involved in the attacks should be declared persona non grata and expelled from the U.S. immediately. Turkish personnel not based in the United States who were involved in the attacks should be barred from entry into the U.S. in the future. Foreign nationals who cannot respect the rule of law of this great country should not be allowed to enjoy the rights and privileges it affords.

Allies do not threaten U.S. troops and allies do not attack U.S. citizens on American soil. We ask you to uphold law and order and demand accountability from the Erdogan government.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe: Lusik Usoyan, Founder and President of the Ezidi Relief Fund; Murat Yusa, a local businessman and protest organizer; Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America; and Ms. Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

“We’ve reached a moment of reckoning. Not simply about Erdogan, but ourselves. We know who he is. Now it’s time for him to understand who we are,” explained Hamparian

WASHINGTON – Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian offered powerful testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, calling for a clear and decisive U.S. response to the May 16th brutal beatings of peaceful American protesters by Turkish President Recep Tayip Erodogan’s bodyguards.

Hamparian, whose live videotape footage from the attack was shown during the hearing, explained “What [Erdogan] ordered on the streets of our capital provides a small insight – a chilling insight – into the types of violence visited every day upon the citizens of Turkey, far from our city, away from our cameras. Those are the facts. That’s where we are.”

Hamparian continued asking, “This hearing, Mr. Chairman, is about foreign policy, to be sure, but – at a more fundamental level – it’s about our shared American commitment to our First Amendment and our freedoms. The question before us is: How will we respond to Ankara exporting its intolerance and violence to our shores, his unapologetic attempts to bully Americans, as he has his own citizens?
How will we answer his arrogance?”

Among the remedies suggested by Hamparian included:

— President Trump should break his silence and condemn this attack on peaceful protesters in our nation’s capital.

— The U.S. government – including our Department of Justice – should fully investigate and criminally prosecute the attackers, demanding that Turkey issue a blanket waiver of diplomatic immunity for all involved in this assault.

— The Administration should, as Senator McCain has recommended, exercise our right to immediately expel Turkey’s Ambassador from the United States – as both an expression of our outrage and a reaffirmation of our American devotion to freedom of expression.
Hamparian welcomed the full Committee’s unanimous adoption of H.Res.354, introduced by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-NY), with the support of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), condemning the attacks and “calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.”

He also encouraged the adoption of H.Res.220 – a bipartisan measure seeking to apply the lessons of Turkey’s genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and other Christians in order to prevent future atrocities.

Also testifying at the hearing were Lusik Usoyan, Founder and President of the Yezidi Relief Fund; Murat Yusa, a local businessman and protest organizer; and Ruth Wedgwood, Edward B. Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Usoyan and Yusa were victims of the brutal assault on May 16th by President Erdogan’s bodyguards.

“I believe that the individuals like Mr. Erdogan who systematically abuse his authority, by violating human right, pressing press, imprisoning second largest party’s [HDP] co-chairs and its members, committing war crimes, and strongly supporting a terrorist group like ISIS has no space in the White House of the United States of America,” explained Usoyan, who went on to outline the beating she received at the hands of pro-Erdogan henchmen. A Yezidi Kurd who grew up in Armenia, Usoyan cited Erdogan’s collusion with Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev as among reasons for the April, 2016, Azerbaijani attack against Armenia. A tearful Usoyan explained, “In the aftermath of the 4-day attack around 80 Armenian soldiers were killed and one Ezidi origin soldier was beheaded by Azeri solders. That soldier happens to be my cousin.”

“As somebody that takes pride in the fundamental American values, it was hard for me to explain to my children why I was attacked, and why Erdogan’s goons were able to escape the U.S. without any justice,” Murat Musa told Members of Congress in his moving testimony. “To ensure justice is served is not for my benefit. It is for our children and the unpredictable future that lays ahead. To hold the perpetrators accountable for their unjustifiable and brutal attacks is not for my benefit. It is to reflect the values that is engraved in the hearts of all Americans.”

Ruth Wedgwood called the attacks “a dreadful episode of violence in which protesters assembled at Sheridan Circle, in front of the residence of the Turkish ambassador, were subjected to gratuitous and outrageous beatings by persons who were apparently part of the security detail of President Erdogan. There is no excuse for this.”

Wedgwood, who has survived a terrorist attack in the past, sympathized with the victims of the Erdogan ordered beatings, stated that “to send a message now to Turkey, there needs to be fairly demonstrative, dramatic measures taken.” Describing President Erdogan as a “thug” and a “bully,” Wedgwood explained that “One can surmise that if he bullies individual people, he will bully the region. Would he be a reliable ally? No.”

"Having been allowed by U.S. Presidents - past and present - to enforce its gag-rule against honest U.S. remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government is now openly and unapologetically exporting its intolerance and violence to America," the ANCA's Hamparian told Congressional leaders.

“Having been allowed by U.S. Presidents – past and present – to enforce its gag-rule against honest U.S. remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government is now openly and unapologetically exporting its intolerance and violence to America,” the ANCA’s Hamparian told Congressional leaders.

Below is Hamparian’s testimony.

Violence Outside the Turkish Ambassador’s Residence:
The Right to Peaceful Protest

Thank you Chairman Rohrabacher and Ranking Member Meeks for this opportunity to testify about the May 16th attack by Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence.

I participated in this peaceful protest at Sheridan Circle and was witness to this brutal assault on Americans and American values.

I personally saw unprovoked attacks by President Erdogan’s bodyguards and others against civilians protesting the Turkish government’s policies. The Turkish President’s security detail was large, clearly well-trained, and extremely violent – kicking and punching protesters even after they had fallen to the ground defenseless and, in at least one case, unconscious. I did my best to help the injured and stayed with many of them later that evening while they were being cared for at the George Washington University Hospital’s emergency room.

Live footage that I filmed for the Armenian National Committee of America Facebook page served as source video for CNN, the Associated Press, and other major media outlets. Our viral video spread news of this incident around the world and, along with excellent video and reporting by the Voice of America and others, helped place a global spotlight upon the Erdogan regime’s increasingly violent efforts to suppress dissent, both at home and now, increasingly, abroad. Your leadership in educating your Congressional colleagues and the American public about this outrage is deeply appreciated.

At the time of the incident I felt certain that it was an orchestrated attack, launched on orders from above. Video evidence I have reviewed subsequent to the violence, including a frame-by-frame analysis by the Washington Post and an audio analysis by the Daily Caller, confirm my conviction that this attack was, in fact, launched at the direction of President Erdogan.

At the time, I offered live, on-the-scene comments. While rushed and shared in a stressful setting, my words then reflect my views today:

“This is the very type of intolerance that has come to predominate in Turkey, and it is now been exported here. I was here. I saw every bit of this. I saw a group of peaceful protestors in Sheridan Circle – there is grassy area across the street from Turkish Ambassadors residence – they were protesting, exercising their Constitutional right to speak their mind, to hold signs, to share their opinion, to express their views.”

“They were rushed from across the street by a group of – a pro Erdogan crowd – broke through the police lines, attacked just literally anybody within reach, with their fists and anything else they could get a hold of, and they beat as many people as they could, they left many bloodied, many have been taken to the hospital. This is exactly the type of violence you see in Ankara and they’re exporting it here. They’re exporting it here. I’m going to repeat myself: It’s one thing for the Turkish government to do that to its own citizens, and it’s a terrible thing. It’s another thing for us, as Americans, to see that exported to the United States, and it was exported to right here to the nation’s capital. Right here, blocks from the White House!”

The fact that Erdogan would act in such a brazen and brutal manner against Americans during a high-profile visit to Washington, DC offers a chilling insight into the depths of violence his forces visit every day upon those in Turkey who – far from the media spotlight – dare to dissent against his despotic rule.

Last Tuesday’s aggression by the Turkish government at Sheridan Circle is clearly part of an escalating and very troubling pattern. Having been allowed by U.S. Presidents – past and present – to enforce its gag-rule against honest U.S. remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government is now openly and unapologetically exporting its intolerance and violence to America.

Past incidents involving violence by President Erdogan’s bodyguards include a 2011 attack on a United Nations security detail and also a March, 2016, assault on protesters and journalists outside the Brookings Institute here in Washington, DC. I took part in last year’s Brookings protest and witnessed first-hand the violence visited by President Erdogan’s security on people gathered, upon our internationally respected Embassy Row, to exercise their Constitutional rights.

President Erdogan is acting with remarkable arrogance and absolute disdain for our country, open disrespect for our police, and outright contempt for the principles that inspire and guide our democracy. The news that the Turkish Foreign Ministry has filed an official protest with U.S. Ambassador John Bass over the conduct of U.S. law enforcement offices is as outrageous as it is offensive.

By way of background, our protest in Sheridan Circle followed an early, larger demonstration held across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park. The ANCA co-hosted this protest, along with other civil society groups concerned about a broad array of Turkish violations of human rights, humanitarian standards, press freedoms, and international law.

Our Facebook event page was titled, “Protest Against The Erdogan Dictatorship,” and invited supporters to “Join supporters of human rights, religious liberty, and regional peace at a rally outside the White House (in Lafayette Park) during President Trump’s May 16th meeting with Turkish President Erdogan. Among the issues listed on this page were: Erdogan’s post-coup consolidation of authoritarian power; mass arrests of the HDP leadership; vast purge of his political opposition; arrest of record numbers of journalists; restrictions on religious freedom and worship; Wikipedia ban and social media crackdown; aggression against Kurds in Syria and Iraq; anti-American rhetoric and actions; continued military occupation of Cyprus; obstruction of justice for genocide of Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and Greeks, and; illegal economic blockade of Armenia.

Among those protesting alongside human rights advocates, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks, and others at Lafayette Park was a religious freedom group seeking Turkey’s release of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen from North Carolina who, after leading a Christian ministry in Izmir for more than two decades, has, since October of 2016, been unjustly imprisoned in Turkey on trumped up charges.

Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, I very much appreciate the opportunity to share my testimony with you today and look forward to answering any questions.

Erdogan’s security personnel attack peaceful protesters during demonstration near the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington DC on May 16, 2017. (Image: VOA Turkish Video/Screenshot)

WASHINGTON (Voice of America)—A demonstrator involved in the last week’s violent clash with guards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells VOA a lawsuit will be filed over injuries sustained during the May 16 melee outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington.

Lucy Usoyan, an Armenian-born activist of the Yazidi community of the US, is one of the victims of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail’s brutal attack on the Washington D.C. protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence.

In an interview with Voice of America, Lucy spoke about the incident and the details which followed.

“The demonstration began outside the White House, because we were concerned with Erdogan’s visit, thinking that a man who doesn’t respect democracy isn’t entitled to being hosted in the White House, which is a symbol of democracy. We could safely voice our needs outside the White House and naturally we didn’t make any provocations whatsoever,” she said.

During the demonstration, which was organized by the local Armenian, Kurdish and Yazidi communities, only one insignificant incident occurred, when Erdogan supporters attempted to grab a poster of a Kurdish demonstrator, which was followed by police drawing a separation line between the protesters and supporters. Then, the demonstrators began to walk towards the Turkish Ambassador’s residence, where a group of Erdogan supporters had already gathered.

“The protest was proceeding peacefully, however being in the first line I saw that another group joined the Erdogan supporters’ group. Those people had completely different outfits – khaki shirts, sunglasses, big-muscled trained people with military boots,” Usoyan said.

According to her, these people charged into the protesters and began to beat them. “I suddenly appeared on the ground, not even realizing how it happened. The next thing I remember is how somebody was repeatedly punching me in the head. I was thinking about one thing at that moment – why are they beating me if I’m not even defending myself. Then I blacked out, and when I opened my eyes I realized that I’m on the ground. Aram Hamparian helped me get on my feet, and I saw that many of the demonstrators are injured, bloody – something that shocked me, because I wasn’t ready for this kind of violence,” Usoyan said.

Usoyan suffered a traumatic brain injury from the beating, and will require 6-8 weeks for recovery, however everything could have ended worse if not for the few Washington cops that were at the scene. “They were trying to protect us by a small group. The footage shows how an officer is trying to take me away from the attackers,” Usoyan said.

According to her, the demonstrators did nothing to instigate the Erdogan supporters; they were simply carrying out a peaceful protest.

“Perhaps they aren’t used to criticism, maybe this is the reason, however we live in a democratic time. This is the 21st century and it is necessary to be tolerant, or take into account the reason behind people complaining,” she said.

Like many others, Lucy says the incident is unacceptable. “In our belief, no government, not only Turkish, has the right to come to this country and batter US citizens and remain unpunished,” she said.

Usoyan participated in the demonstration to demand the protection of Yazidi’s rights, as well as the recogniztion of the Armenian Genocide.

“Armenia is the country where I was born and which has become the homeland of numerous Yazidis for more than a century,” she said.

Lucy Usoyan was three years old when she left Armenia with her parents, however she has many relatives in Armenia, one of them being Kyaram Sloyan, the Artsakh soldier who died during the April War in 2016.

“We – all Armenians, must stand up for rights and justice and demand the recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” she said.

American lawmakers swiftly issued bipartisan outcry over the melee, which was followed by repeated expressions of concern by top State Department officials, who summoned Turkey’s ambassador over the incident.

“There is an ongoing investigation,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Fox News Sunday, adding that he will wait on the outcome of that probe before deciding on a more formal response.

Globally, however, Usoyan says the absence of a formal White House response makes the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump look weak.

“In this case, the video went viral around the world,” Usoyan said. “I was talking to my family and relatives last night, and everyone takes this as a (sign of the) weakness of our current government. I do believe President Trump should shed a spotlight to this case and address this issue so it doesn’t spotlight him as weak towards Turkey.”

On Monday, Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador to Ankara to protest what it called the “aggressive” treatment of Turkish security, calling behavior of Washington Metropolitan police officers who attempted to break up the fight — sometimes with batons — “aggressive and unprofessional.”

The Trump administration has vowed to arm YPG fighters as part of a campaign to take Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold in Raqqa.

Erdogan and Trump are expected to meet again at this week’s NATO summit in Brussels.

Rep. Ted Poe Calls for Continued Protests at Turkish Embassy, with Reps. Rohrabacher, Cicilline, Wagner, and Sherman Offering to Attend in Solidarity

WASHINGTON—On May 25, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously adopted H.Res.354 condemning the May 16 attacks on peaceful protesters by Turkish President Erdogan’s bodyguards, “calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) were joined by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in spearheading the Congressional effort, likely to be voted on in the full House in early June.

“The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s unanimous adoption of H.Res.354 represents a powerful bipartisan condemnation of Turkish President Erdogan’s attempts to export this brand of brutality to the United States,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “He and the regimes before him have gotten away with a century of genocide and repression—from the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrian in 1915 to the Kurds and other minorities today—through international intimidation, threats and coverups, and now violence on the streets of our nation’s capital. Congress and the Trump Administration need to send a strong message that this stops now.”

Citing the details of the May 16th attacks by President Erdogan’s bodyguards on peaceful protesters, and noting that this is the third time similar incidents have occurred in the U.S., Chairman Royce noted “The rights of peaceful protest and free expression are fundamental values in any democracy. By passing this resolution we reaffirm our commitment to protect these rights against all who seek to suppress them.”

“I was shocked. The last thing we expect to see in the United States is a strong man’s thugs silencing peaceful protesters,” said Ranking Democrat Engel, who noted that he had been invited to a meeting at the Turkish Embassy during the time of the beating but had not gone. “If Turkish government officials are going to come to our country and try to stifle American democracy and freedom of speech, there must be consequences.”

Noting that “Turkey has been under a downward spiral under an aspiring dictator, Erdogan,” Texas Congressman Ted Poe (R) condemned the attacks. “We will have no foreign tyrant violating our sacred rights on American soil. Justice demands that he be held accountable and Turkey be held accountable,” said Rep. Poe, who then encouraged protesters to return to the Turkish Embassy and continue their protests, with several House Foreign Affairs Committee Members, including Rep. Poe, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Anne Wagner (R-Mo.) all offering to join in solidarity.

At 12 noon, Rep. Rohrabacher is leading the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe hearing on the May 16th Erdogan-ordered attacks where Hamparian will be offering testimony, along with Ms. Lusik Usoyan, Founder and President of the Ezidi Relief Fund and Mr. Murat Yusa, a local businessman and protest organizer. Usoyan and Yusa were victims of the brutal assault on May 16 by President Erdogan’s bodyguards.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16 attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with representatives of The Atlantic Council, a leading think tank in Washington, D.C. which receives funding from Turkey. Hamparian’s video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters—elderly men and several women – who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack.

Voice of America Turkish division, in their video coverage shot from the vantage point of the Turkish Ambassador’s house, reported that the attackers belonged to President Erdogan’s security detail and were responsible for escalating the violence.

Additional VOA Turkish video surfaced showing President Erdogan ordering his security detail to attack the protesters, then watching calmly as the beatings were carried out. Audio analysis carried out by the Daily Caller shows Erdogan’s bodyguards yelling “gel gel gel”—“come, come, come”—and “dalın diyor, dalın diyor, dalın diyor,”–“he says attack, he says attack, he says attack.”

The Washington Post published a second-by-second analysis of the VOA Turkish videos and identified the Erdogan’s order of the attack, available here:

The U.S. State Department called the Turkish Ambassador in for a discussion last week regarding the incident, officially expressing their dismay, calling the actions of President Erdogan’s body guards “unacceptable.” President Trump has yet to comment on the matter.

In a highly incendiary move, on Monday, May 22nd, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called in the U.S. Ambassador John Bass for a diplomatic discussion, accusing U.S. police and security personnel of “aggressive and unprofessional actions.”

The protest in front of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence was a continuation of a demonstration held earlier in the day in front of the White House, co-hosted by the ANCA. As President Trump met with President Erdogan. human rights and religious rights groups were joined by representatives of the Kurdish, Yezidi, and Armenian communities to call attention to the Erdogan regime’s escalating repression against free press, the Kurdish and other ethnic communities, as well as Turkey’s ongoing obstruction of justice for the Armenian Genocide.

The full text of the resolution is provided below.

Condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. ROYCE of California (for himself, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. MCCARTHY, and Mr. HOYER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION

Condemning the violence against peaceful protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence on May 16, 2017, and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and measures to be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Whereas on May 16, 2017, President Donald J. Trump hosted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, a longstanding NATO ally, for an official meeting at the White House to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation and bilateral issues;

Whereas on the evening of May 16, 2017, over two dozen protesters gathered outside of the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., to demonstrate opposition to Turkish Government policies;

Whereas after hours of peaceful protest, violence erupted when pro-Erdogan supporters and individuals from the Turkish Embassy grounds pushed past District of Columbia police officers to brutally attack the demonstrators;

Whereas those Turkish officials blatantly suppressed the First Amendment rights of United States citizens, and multiple armed Turkish security officials beat, kicked, and choked unarmed demonstrators;

Whereas multiple video recordings of the violence and reports by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia and the Department of State confirm that the demonstrators did not instigate the violence;

Whereas at least 11 individuals were seriously injured in the ensuing brawl, with two individuals requiring immediate hospitalization;

Whereas two armed Turkish security officers attached to a security detail were detained at the scene for physically assaulting Federal agents;

Whereas those two Turkish security officers were later re- leased and subsequently allowed to leave the United States because they held Derived Head of State immunity;

Whereas the Department of State did not request that Turkey waive the immunity for these two security officers in order to fully investigate the assault prior to their being released from custody;

Whereas a joint criminal investigation into the incident is on- going with the combined efforts of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Secret Service, and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service;

Whereas at no point was President Erdogan in danger;

Whereas immunity for diplomatic personnel and certain other foreign officials is a core principle, as is the right to pro- test peacefully and freely in the United States;

Whereas this is the third instance of violence perpetrated by members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail in United States territory;

Whereas in 2011, a brawl erupted in the halls of the United Nations General Assembly between members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail and United Nations security officers, resulting in one United Nations security officer being hospitalized due to serious injuries;

Whereas in 2016, members of Turkish President Erdogan’s security detail engaged in unwarranted violence against journalists reporting on an event at the Brookings Institution;

Whereas Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on May 21, 2017, that the violence outside the Turkish Embassy was ‘‘outrageous’’ and ‘‘simply unacceptable’’; and

Whereas the right to assembly, peaceful protest, and freedom of speech are essential and protected rights in the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(1) the rights to peacefully assemble and freely express one’s views are essential to the fabric of American democracy;

(2) the Turkish security forces acted in an un-professional and brutal manner, reflecting poorly on President Erdogan and the Government of Turkey;

(3) any Turkish security officials who directed, oversaw, or participated in efforts by Turkish security forces to illegally suppress peaceful protests on May 16, 2017, should be charged and prosecuted under United States law;

(4) the United States Secret Service and the Diplomatic Security Service of the Department of State should review this incident and confirm with the Turkish National Police the standards expected by visiting security details to prevent future violent incidents;

(5) the Department of State should immediately request the waiver of immunity of any Turkish security detail official engaged in assault in the United States prior to release of that individual from custody;

(6) the Department of State should conduct a review of its own security procedures to determine how to mitigate the likelihood of such an event in the future;

(7) the United States’ respect for free speech requires officials of the United States to speak out against such incidents; and

(8) the United States should take steps to strengthen freedoms for the press and civil society in countries such as Turkey, and combat efforts by foreign leaders to suppress free and peaceful protest in their own countries.

ԵՐԵՒԱՆ, «ՓանԱրմինիըն».- Երեւանի մէջ, Հարաւային Քալիֆորնիոյ համալսարանին կողմէ կազմակերպուած «Անցումային շրջանի աւարտը. Հայաստանը 25 տարի անց. հիմա՞ ին»չ խորագիրով գիտաժողովի ընթացքին ելոյթ ունենալով՝ գործարար Ռուբէն Վարդանեան յայտարարեց, որ բարեգործութիւնն ու դրամական փոխանցումները կը սպաննեն Հայաստանի ապագան:

Գործարարը Մայիս 23-24ին տեղի ունեցած գիտաժողովի մասնակիցներու ուշադրութիւնը հրաւիրած է կարգ մը տուեալներու վրայ. Հայաստանի մէջ 18 տոկոս գործազրկութիւն եւ արտադրողականութիւն, որ 2.5 անգամ ցած է Եւրոպական Միութեան ոչ առաջատար երկիրներու՝ Պուլկարիոյ եւ Ռումանիոյ ցուցանիշներէն:

«Դրամական փոխանցումները սպանում են Հայաստանի ապագան, բարեգործութիւնը սպանում է Հայաստանի ապագան այն ձեւով, որով արւում է, քանի որ փոփոխութեան չի մղում: Ես միանգամայն համոզուած եմ՝ բարեգործութիւնը, դրամական փոխանցումները, միջազգային օգնութիւնը, դրամաշնորհները սպանում են Հայաստանի ապագան: Դրանք նպաստում են «եօլա գնալուն», սակայն չեն ստեղծում լաւագոյնը դառնալու հնարաւորութիւն», շեշտած է Վարդանեան:

WASHINGTON—The budget unveiled Monday by the Trump administration will see a drastic 70 percent–69.6 percent–cut in aid to Armenia over the fiscal year 2017 budget, which allocated $22.4 million in assistance to Armenia. Trump’s budget is calling for a $6.8 million aid package to Armenia.

“We are troubled by President Trump’s ill-advised and misguided proposal to sharply cut aid to Armenia. His budget recommendation underscores the need to work with Congressional appropriators to reverse these reductions, while redoubling our efforts to empower Armenia’s aid-to-trade transition,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

“Building on 2015’s Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and leveraging the five hundred million dollars in new U.S. investments in Armenia, we need to put in place a badly-needed Double Tax Treaty, launch direct Los Angeles to Yerevan flights, secure an MCC Science and Technology education grant for Armenian schools, and undertake other targeted commercial initiatives to strengthen the U.S.-Armenia bilateral economic relationship,” added Hamparian.

Under the Administration’s budget, aid to Armenia would be reduced by 70 percent, dropping from $22.4 million in FY17 to $6.8 million proposed for FY18. The Trump budget also reduces assistance to Azerbaijan by 90 percent as compared with FY16 to $1 million.

The Trump budget request for Armenia envisions $4 million in Economic Support and Development Fund, $1.5 million for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, and $700,000 for Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs. Military parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan is maintained in the proposed budget with each receiving $600,000 for International Military Education and Training and cuts Foreign Military Financing to both countries. In the FY17 budget $1 million was allocated for FMF.

In early April, the Congressional Armenian Caucus called on key U.S. House appropriators to prioritize Fiscal Year 2018 foreign aid policies “strengthening Armenia’s independence, promoting peace in Nagorno Karabakh, and supporting Armenia as a regional safe haven for at-risk Middle East refugees.

Among the specific priorities advanced by the Caucus were:

— U.S. support for Armenia as a regional safe haven for Middle East refugees, in the form of a $40 million appropriation to support transitional programs, including short-term housing/rental assistance and social and economic integration initiatives.

— A renewed focus on aid to Artsakh, with an appropriation of at least $8 million for de-mining, rehabilitation programs (such as the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center), and water supply systems.

— A focused effort to check Azerbaijani aggression, through the appropriation of at least $20 million to support implementation of the Royce-Engel peace proposals, the suspension of U.S. military aid to Baku, and the strengthening of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.

— An appropriation of at least $40 million in economic aid to Armenia, and no less than $11 million in military aid, with a focus on advancing U.S.-Armenia defense cooperation goals, promoting NATO interoperability, and supporting increased Armenia’s participation in global peacekeeping operations.

In March, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) delivered powerful testimony before key House foreign aid appropriators, calling for the expansion of U.S. assistance to Artsakh and Armenia, and the implementation of measures to check escalating Azerbaijani aggression.

ANCA’s Hamparian also noted that the organization will continue working with congressional leaders to ensure that a portion of the Trump’s proposed $2.75 billion allocated to Migration and Refugee Assistance would go to Armenia, which has accepted a large number of refugees from Syria over the course of the past several years.

ARMENPRESS – Military expert Vladimir Evseev, deputy director of the CIS Countries Institute, positively assesses the May 19 presidential election results in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to him, Hassan Rouhani’s re-election as President of Iran is benefficial both for Armenia a

“It was under Hassan Rouhani’s presidency that the Russian-Iranian strategic dialogue launched which is very important, in other words, currently we speak about strategic dialogue which leads to strategic partnership. I think that dialogue will strengthen more easily under Rouhani’s presidency. In late March Rouhani visited Russia, and a number of joint decisions were made which will be easier to implement again during his tenure”, Evseev told Armenpress

The expert said in line with strengthening of the Russian-Iranian relations, he expects also deterioration of Iran-US ties.

“Why, because Trump will probably support Israel and Saudi Arabia which has money. In fact, Saudi Arabia’s range of interests, that weakened a little under Obama’s presidency, will return to its place, and Saudi Arabia is Iran’s regional rival. And if Iran’s relations deteriorate, it will be more open for partnership with neighbors, and in this sense Armenia is that friendly state with which Iran can cooperate”, Vladimir Evseev said.

He also proposed to take respective steps to form Armenia-Iran-Russia triangle.

“Moreover, this must be directed not only towards political cooperation, but also a military one, the grounds of which we already have. In this sense I would like to highlight the visit of Armenia’s Defense Minister to Iran during which a number of issues, including defense issues were discussed”, the military expert stated.

Rouhani won Iran’s Presidential election with 57% of votes. Four candidates were running for the post. Over 70% of eligible voters participated in the election.

ԵՐԵՒԱՆ.- Հայաստանի մէջ ստեղծուած է լազերային սարք մը, որ նախատեսուած է ռազմական նշանակութեան տեսողական միջոցներու յայտնաբերման եւ ոչնչացման համար:

Այս մասին «Հայոց Աշխարհ» օրաթերթին տուած հարցազրոյցին ընթացքին ըսած է Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան Զինուած ուժերու գլխաւոր շտաբի ներկայացուցիչ Արամ Սայադեան:

«Սարքի առաւելութիւնը այն է, որ մինչեւ դիպուկահարին աշխատիլը, նախքան կրակոց արձակելը, սարքը թոյլ կու տայ յայտնաբերելու զայն, որքան ալ որ դիպուկահարը քօղարկուած ըլլայ: Որքան ալ ան թաքնուի, տեսողականը չի փակեր, քանի որ տեսողականը պիտի բաց տեսադաշտ ունենայ, որ թիրախ որոնէ: Այդ տեսողականէն անդրադարձուող ճառագայթները որսալով՝ մեր սարքը կը յայտնաբերէ ու կը բացայայտէ դիպուկահարին վայրը: Ինչպէս նաեւ հզօր լազերային ճառագայթի օգնութեամբ՝ շարքէ կը հանէ տուեալ տեսողական սարքը:

Սարքին ամբողջ հաւաքածոն՝ յարակից սարքերով, կրնայ տեղափոխել երկու հոգի: Շատ դիւրին է զայն քօղարկել, քանի որ սարքը ինքնին փոքր է», նշած է Սայադեան:

Ըստ անոր՝ սարքը նախատեսուած է նաեւ ռազմական նշանակութեան հեռադիտակ, տեսողական հետախուզութեան որեւէ սարք, ինչպէս նաեւ տեսա-ելեկտրոնային հետախուզութեան, այսինքն՝ ջերմատեսիլ սարքեր, տարբեր ելեկտրոնային տեսախցիկներ, գիշերային կամ սակաւ տեսանելիութեան պայմաններու խցիկներ բացայայտելու համար:

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