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Public Statements

The Armenian Genocide

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Sarbanes) for 5 minutes.

Mr. SARBANES. Mr. Speaker, the genocide of more than 1 1/2 million Armenians by Ottoman-era Turkish authorities is an undeniable fact of history. In 1915, the Armenian nation which had resided in Anatolia for thousands of years was subjected to an organized barbarity that included death marches, drowning, and executions.

Those who managed to survive these horrors scattered to the four corners of the Earth. Today, survivors of the Armenian genocide and their children and grandchildren bear witness to this massacre. Each year, Armenian Americans, supported by others who readily accept the teachings of history, renew their plea that the United States Government formally recognize the Armenian genocide, and every year that responsibility of recognition remains unfulfilled.

When faced with the deeply compelling research and scholarship surrounding the Armenian genocide, it is wholly untenable to assert that the genocide did not occur. Instead, many in Congress offer the protest that recognition would harm our relationship with Turkey and undermine our broader geostrategic interests. Others suggest weakly that it is just not the right time to push the issue of recognition. The result is the same--the continued failure on the part of the United States to do the right thing. This failure puts salt on the wounds of the Armenian people. But it does more than that. It corrodes the moral standing of our Nation as a whole.

I join those who once again, at this time of annual remembrance, implore my fellow Members of Congress and President Obama to formally recognize the Armenian genocide.

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