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The Armenian National Committee of America and AHI Send Letter to the American Jewish Congress to Express their Disappointment for Granting Bravery Award to Turkish Prime Minister
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ANGELIKI VASSILIOU
January 28, 2004—No. 3 (202) 785-8430

THE ARMENIAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF AMERICA AND AHI SEND LETTER TO THE AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS TO EXPRESS THEIR DISAPPOINTMENT FOR GRANTING BRAVERY AWARD TO TURKISH PRIME MINISTER

WASHINGTON, DC—On January 22, 2004, ANCA Chairman Kenneth V. Hachikian and AHI general counsel, Gene Rossides sent a letter to the President of the American Jewish Congress, Mr. Jack Rosen, to express their disappointment for granting the American Jewish Congress Bravery Award to the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The full text of the letter to the American Jewish Congress follows:

January 22, 2004

Mr. Jack Rosen
President
American Jewish Congress
15 East 84th Street
New York, NY 10028

Dear Mr. Rosen:

We are writing, as friends of the Jewish American community, to voice our profound disappointment with your decision to grant the American Jewish Congress Bravery Award to the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on January 26th in New York City.

As you know, Mr. Erdogan is the Prime Minister of a nation with among the world's worst records on torture, human rights, and jailing journalists. His government occupies over a third of the independent country of Cyprus and has consistently blocked a peaceful Cyprus resolution. The Turkish government, under his leadership, actively and openly pressures the United States, Israel, and other nations to deny the Armenian Genocide. In fact, as recently as last April, Mr. Erdogan's Education Minister, Hussein Celik, implemented a mandatory program of teaching Armenian Genocide denial in Turkey's school system. Mr. Erdogan's government also blockades humanitarian aid to Armenia; places unfair restrictions on Turkey's Christian communities, and commits ethnic cleansing against and denies the most basic rights of its Kurdish population. These are not the actions of a leader who deserves the praise of the American Jewish Congress, a proud organization that represents a community that Armenian and Greek Americans have, through long experience, come to know as the defender of the
highest ethical principles.

We cannot believe that your decision to honor Mr. Erdogan reflects the views of the mainstream Jewish American community. Jewish Americans—like Greek and Armenian Americans—are, of course, deeply committed to their homeland's security. We cannot accept, however, that the Jewish community supports expending its great moral standing, and thereby compromising Israel's long-term interests, on behalf of a government that denies genocide, restricts basic rights, and commits unspeakable abuses against its own citizens. This is clearly demonstrated by the growing number of community organizations supporting efforts to reaffirm the Armenian Genocide. Among those who are supporting the Genocide Resolution (H.Res.193 and S.Res.164) currently before Congress are: American Federation of Jews in Central Europe; American Jewish League for Israel; American Jewish World Service; Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding; Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry; Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations; Council for Jewish Education; Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs; Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston; Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County; Jewish War Veterans of the USA; National Committee for Labor Israel; Rabbinical Assembly; Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and Union of Orthodox Rabbis. In addition to these organizations, this legislation has been backed by over one hundred other leading national groups, among them the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, American Values, International Campaign for Tibet, Sons of Italy, and the National Council of Churches.

We do not understand why the AJC, despite both personal and written appeals, has failed to take a similar principled stance on the Armenian Genocide. It is our sincere hope that the AJC will join the Genocide Resolution coalition, urge Mr. Erdogan to withdraw Turkish forces from Cyprus, and encourage him to abandon his shameful and immoral positions on human rights, Cyprus, and the Armenian Genocide.

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.

Sincerely,

[signed]

Gene Rossides 
Kenneth V. Hachikian
Founder
Chairman
American Hellenic Institute 
Armenian National Committee Of America

cc: The Armenian American media

Organizations supporting the Genocide Resolution:
Albanian American Civic League—Ossining, NY
American Association for People with Disabilities—Washington, DC
American Federation of Jews in Central Europe—New York, NY
American Friends of the Alliance Israelite Universelle—New York, NY
American Hellenic Media Project—New York, NY
American Jewish League for Israel—New York, NY
American Jewish World Service—New York, NY
American Society of the University of Haifa—New York, NY
American Values—Arlington, VA
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—Washington, DC
Apostolic Exarchate for Armenian Catholics—New York, NY
Arab American Institute—Washington, DC
Armenia Fund USA—New York, NY
Armenian American Democratic Leadership Council—Falls Church, VA
Armenian Assembly—Washington, DC
Armenian Bar Association—Los Angeles, CA
Armenian Council of America—Paramus, NJ and Los Angeles, CA
Armenian Engineers and Scientists Association—Los Angeles, CA
Armenian Evangelical Union of North America—Paramus, NJ
Armenian General Benevolent Union—New York, NY
Armenian Missionary Association of America—Paramus, NJ
Armenian Relief Society—Watertown, MA and Glendale, CA
Armenian Youth Federation of America—Watertown, MA and Glendale, CA
Boston Mobilization—Boston, MA
Brookdale College Center of Holocaust Studies—Lincroft, NJ
Bulgarian Institute for Research and Analysis—Bethesda, MD
Cambodian Association of America—Los Angeles, CA
Cambodian Association of America—Los Angeles, CA
Campaign to End Genocide-World Federalist Association—Washington, DC
Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding—Fairfield, CT
Center for Prevention of Genocide—Arlington, VA
Center for Russian Jewry with Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry—New York, NY
Center for the Study of Human Rights at Worcester State College—Worcester, MA
Center for World Indigenous Studies—Olympia, WA
Christian Solidarity International—Westlake Village, CA
Church Women United—New York, NY
Conflict Resolution, Resource, and Research Institute—Tacoma, WA
Congress of Russian Americans—San Francisco, CA
Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations—New York, NY
Corpus Justice—Houston, TX
Council for Jewish Education—Monsey, NY
Council for the Development of French in Louisiana—Lafayette, LA
Council on American-Islamic Relations—Washington, DC
Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church—New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund—Berkley, CA
Federally Employed Women—Washington, DC
Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs—New York, NY
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers)—Washington, DC
Friends of the New England Holocaust Memorial—Boston, MA
Government Accountability Project—Washington, DC
Hamazkayn Armenian Cultural and Educational Association—Watertown, MA and Glendale, CA Hellenic American Council—Los Angeles, CA
Hellenic News of America—Havertown, PA
Hispanic Committee of Virginia—Falls Church, VA
Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida—Maitland, FL
Homenetmen Armenian General Athletic Union—Watertown, MA and Glendale, CA Hungarian American Coalition—Washington, DC
Institute for Cultural Partnerships—Harrisburg, PA
International Campaign for Tibet—Washington, DC
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston—Boston, MA
Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County—Palm Beach, FL
Jewish War Veterans of the USA—Washington, DC
Knights of Vartan—New York, NY
Land and Culture Organization—New York, NY
Lao Human Rights Council—Eau Clair, WI
Living Voices—Seattle, WA
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund—Los Angeles, CA
Muslim Public Affairs Council—Los Angeles, CA
National Albanian American Council—Washington, DC
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research—Belmont, MA
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—Baltimore, MD
National Committee for Labor Israel—New York, NY
National Congress of American Indians—Washington, DC
National Council of Churches—Washington, DC
National Council of La Raza—Washington, DC
National Federation of Filipino American Associations—Washington, DC
National Hispanic Council on Aging—Washington, DC
National Lawyers Guild—New York, NY
National Organization of Republican Armenians—Washington, DC
National Organization of Women (NOW)—Washington, DC
National United Black Fund—Newark, NJ
Near East Foundation—New York, NY
Order, Sons of Italy in America—New York, NY
Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church—New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA
Rabbinical Assembly—New York, NY
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College—New York, NY
Serbian Unity Congress—Washington, DC
Slovenian Research Center of America—Willoughby Hills, OH
Southern Regional Council—Atlanta, GA
Stewardship Project—Indianapolis, IN
Tekeyan Cultural Association—Watertown, MA
Union of Orthodox Rabbis—New York, NY
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations—Washington, DC
UNITE—New York, NY
United Hellenic American Council—Chicago, IL
Women's American Ort—New York, NY
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom—Pennsylvania, PA
Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring—New York, NY


For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.