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Mass media: Activist Ani Navasardyan detained on charge of provoking mass unrest

Serviceman of NKR Defense Army killed from adversary's shot

Group of journalists arrives at seized building of the Police Patrol Service Regiment

Investigative Committee: Charges pressed against three citizens of Armenia for participation in mass disorders

"Sasna Tsrer" released the rest two hostages -Osipyan and Yeghiazaryan

Russian Foreign Ministry criticized EU's statement on events in Yerevan

Major General Vitaly Balasanyan provides details of his meeting with "Daredevils of Sasoun"

Armenian Foreign Ministry verifying if there were citizens of Armenia among Munich shooting casualties

National Security of Armenia confirms: Members of armed group voluntarily release two of four hostages

National Security Service of Armenia says two persons tied to armed group detained

Nikol Pashinyan: Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Serzh Sargsyan plot yielding territories around Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan

"Daredevils of Sasoun" reportedly releases two of four hostages

NKR Defense Army soldier wounded, as Azerbaijan violates ceasefire

Armenia and UAE sign agreement to boost and protect investments

Sharmazanov: It is more likely that Kura River changes its course and falls into Black Sea than Karabakh becomes part of Azerbaijan with any status

Galust Sahakyan: Talks on possible resignation of Armenian government are rumors

Russian political scientist: Destabilization of situation and pressure on authorities prevail in "Sasna Tsrer" group's actions

Statements that five districts adjacent to Nagorno Karabakh will be passed to Azerbaijan exert pressure on the process, Bryza says

Levon Ter-Petrosyan: It is senseless to analyze the reasons that led to armed seizure of state building

President: In Armenia problems are not settled through brutal force and hostage taking - this situation continues longer than we can afford

Serzh Sargsyan: Punishment of those guilty inevitable

Newspaper: After talks with "Daredevils of Sasoun," Vitaly Balasanyan met with Serzh Sargsyan

Social media warn: physical attack prepared on Nikol Pashinyan

Views from Tel Aviv: Loss of control over country may push external powers to settle Karabakh conflict not in favor of Armenian people

Armenia's Defense Ministry confirms: Azerbaijani side targets school in near border village of Movses

Maria Zakharova slams Armenian and Azerbaijani journalists

Azerbaijan keeps intensively violating ceasefire on Line of Contact

Republican Party of Armenia for peaceful resolution of standoff and hostage situation in Yerevan

Night was calm near seized building of Patrol Police Station in Yerevan

Government of Armenia dismisses idea of creating "Aviation Code"

Cyber security specialists to be trained in Armenia with support of Kaspersky Lab

Zakharova: Moscow hopes process around Nagorno Karabakh will not lose its dynamics

Paul Goble says Moscow has lost its interest in Christian Armenia and is moving to increase its ties with majority Shia Islamic Azerbaijan, Armenia's longtime enemy, and now with Sunni Turkey

Vartan Oskanian sees the solution to the current situation in Yerevan in political field only

Meeting of Vitaly Balasanyan and armed loyalists of jailed oppositionist is over; no details are reported

Maria Zakharova: We support measures taken by Armenia's authorities over seized Patrol Service Regiment in Yerevan

EU Delegation in Armenia makes a statement on recent events in Armenia

Forecast: Russian policy's stagnant Armenian vector fraught with "Ukrainization" of Armenia

Authorities send Vitaly Balasanyan to rebels as negotiator

View from Moscow: Role of April war in current protests in Armenia should not be underestimated

Healthcare Minister: None of those suffered in clashes at Khorenatsi Street is in extremely critical condition

Ara Abrahamyan: Situation in Yerevan demonstrates that there is a need for dialog between society and authorities

Azerbaijani side did not lead OSCE mission to its frontlines during planned monitoring of Line of Contact

Armenia's Economy Minister calls for tolerance and reasonableness

Analyst: In negotiations with Zhirayr Sefilyan's supporters authorities should consider factor of weapons fallen in the rebels' hands

Investigative Committee: 16 people arrested on suspicion of participating in mass disorder at Khorenatsi Street

In H1 2016, Anelik Bank increased deposit portfolio by 13.5% y-o-y due to significant growth of private deposits

Adversary continues to intensively violate ceasefire on Line of Contact

Armenian Police gives explanations related to clashes at Khorenatsi Street overnight

Police: 136 people detained following clashes at Khorenatsi Street

Regional

Nominee for U.S. ambassador to Turkey: "Facilitating Armenia's regional integration by opening its border with Turkey will be one of my key goals as Ambassador"

  • by Tatevik Shahunyan

  • Friday, August 1, 15:42

On Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination of John R. Bass to serve as the next U.S.  Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). Under the Chairmanship of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bass' nomination was approved by voice vote.

Although questions regarding the Turkish government's 99-year campaign of genocide denial were not raised during his confirmation hearing, some media outlets mistakenly reported that Bass denied the Armenian Genocide at that hearing. While recognizing that several Turkish journalists and public organizations have taken steps to counter the Turkish government's denial of the Armenian Genocide, "more can be done, and we encourage both sides to pursue a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts surrounding the tragic events on 1915," Bass said in his opening remarks.  Following his July 15th confirmation hearing, questions on various Armenian American issues were submitted for the record to the nominee by Chairman Menendez, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).  

Chairman Menendez began his questioning on the Armenian Genocide and the recent commemorations held on April 24 in Istanbul. "Will you make participating in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the genocide a priority for you and your staff?  How do you personally characterize the events that took place between 1915-23 that resulted in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians and the killing of as many as 1,500,000 men, women, and children?" Menendez asked.  "The U.S. government acknowledges as historical fact and mourns that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire," Bass replied. "If confirmed, I will continue to make attendance at such commemoration events a priority, particularly in light of the upcoming 100th anniversary of one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century," Bass said.  Chairman Menendez also drew the nominee's attention to the Turkish government's discriminatory policies regarding religious minorities. "Less than one hundred years ago, there was a vibrant and large Christian population in Turkey. Because of genocide and persecution, the population has been decimated and accounts for less than point 2 percent of the population today," Menendez said. "How will you address issues of religious persecution against Christians and other religious minorities with Turkish authorities?" Menendez inquired.  

"Religious minority groups face continuing challenges in Turkey," Bass said. "If confirmed, I will encourage the Turkish government to follow through on the return of religious minority properties and to take additional steps to promote religious freedom, such as allowing more religious communities to own property, register their places of worship, and train clergy," Bass replied. 

Last month, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed H.R. 4347, the Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act. Although a similar measure has not yet been introduced in the Senate, the continued destruction of historic Christian sites of Anatolia has not gone unnoticed in Washington.  Senator Boxer also questioned nominee Bass on the Armenia-Turkey reconciliation efforts. "How does the failure of the Turkish government to openly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide impede efforts to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia?" Boxer asked.  "To achieve full reconciliation, Turkey must come to terms with its past," Bass said bluntly. 

"The Administration will continue to encourage a full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts," Bass said, in an effort to support the normalization of relations that will result in the opening of the border.  Senator Boxer also raised the issue of Turkey's 20-year land blockade on Armenia directly. "How will you work to end this illegal blockade?" she asked. "Facilitating Armenia's regional integration by opening its border with Turkey is a priority for the United States," Bass said. "If confirmed, this would be one of my key goals as Ambassador." In his line of questioning, Senator Markey recalled the service of former U.S.  ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, in whose footsteps Bass would serve. 

"Do you agree with the accounts of U.S. diplomats, including Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, regarding the attempted annihilation of the Armenian people?" Markey asked.  "I am aware of the history of the tragic massacres and forced exile that occurred at the end of the Ottoman Empire, and with U.S. policy during that period. Ambassador Morgenthau's accounts, and the reporting of other U.S. diplomats, serve as important historical records of these tragic events from various perspectives. The individual stories of the tragedy are horrifying." 
"The U.S. government acknowledges as historical fact and mourns that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. If confirmed as Ambassador, my role would be to represent faithfully the President's policies, as it has been in all of my previous assignments," Bass said.  

"We commend Chairman Menendez and Senators Boxer and Markey for their poignant and sharp questioning of nominee Bass on critical issues of  concern to Armenian Americans," stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. "The Assembly looks forward to the opportunity to discuss shared concerns directly with the next U.S.  ambassador to Turkey," Ardouny added.  

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