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Zardusht Alizade: After Ukraine and Syria, Putin wants to play a peacekeeper’s role in Karabakh

Azerbaijani Armed Forces again shelling Armenian positions

Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army: Adversary will receive response for its actions

Two servicemen of Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army die in conflict zone

Hrant Bagratyan stresses the need to expand the scale of dismissals in Armenian Defense Ministry system

Head of EU Delegation to Armenia: Both Armenians and Azerbaijanis should prepare for peace

Parliamentary forces of Armenia ready to sign "gentleman's agreement" on excluding pre-election bribes

Mammadyarov to Sargsyan: Conditions put forward for resumption of negotiations undermine peace process on settlement

Azerbaijani FM: Russia has offered a phased solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Zaruhi Postanjyan: Large-scale armed hostilities in Artsakh are yet to start

Armenian delegation comments on the ban on Artsakh flag at Eurovision Song Contest

UITE: 300 specialists and 50 companies in IT sector and engineering willing to contribute to development of Military Industrial Complex of Armenia

Sharmazanov to Mammadyarov: Baku will not succeed in its attempts to throw dust in eyes of international community

Armenian PR Association to establish with Beeline's support the first national PR award in Armenia

Areximbank-GPB Group staff members visit schools in Armavir region under My Finance Month-2016 project

Armenia's Parliament Vice Speaker: No negotiations are possible unless Azerbaijan stops violating ceasefire

U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez Calls for Leahy Law Investigation of Azerbaijani Abuses

Bako Sahakyan says Karabakh will cede no land and urges world community to reconsider its attitude towards aggressor

Bako Sahakyan: Karabakh conflict cannot be settled, unless Artsakh in involved in peace talks

Konstantin Kosachev: Turkey's stance on Karabakh encourages of one the sides to the conflict to continue it

Azerbaijan continues violating ceasefire arrangements

Armenian Defense Ministry registers 18 incidents on border with Azerbaijan

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Ankara hopes Karabakh conflict will be resolved with due regard for 'sovereignty' of Azerbaijan

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Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army presented evidences of rocket bombardment of Mataghis by Azerbaijani armed forces

Central Bank of Armenia approves merger agreement of ProCredit Bank and INECOBANK

Stratfor forecast: Military escalation will continue to be a possibility in Nagorno-Karabakh, with effects that reach far beyond the bounds of the small contested territory

EU supports peaceful resolution of Karabakh conflict, Malena Mard says

Azerbaijan's armed forces fire more than 240 rounds at Karabakh positions and target Mataghis populated area overnight

Armenia's Defense Ministry: Azerbaijan shells at state border with Armenia

U.S. Department of State: We have remained in contact with both governments and we need to see the peace process back up and running as soon as possible

Manvel Sargsyan: Armenia due to reconsider fundamentally its 20-year-long policy towards Russia

Seyran Ohanyan: There will be no new dismissals in Armenia's defense system

Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army: Adversary's movements noticed on northeastern direction of line of contact

Artsrun Hovhannisyan: Situation in Artsakh is quiet at the moment

Yerevan: The time has come for international community to call Baku to order by using specific measures

Arpine Hovhannisyan: Mihran Poghosyan case is being investigated

Russian foreign ministry: the primary task is to exclude regular outbreak of aggression

Three Armenian servicemen wounded on Line of Contact of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani troops

Investigative Committee: Identity of the second killed passenger is established

National Revival: Hermine Naghdalyan's statement is a stab in the back of Artsakh soldier

Communist Party of Russia suggests Vladimir Putin to deploy missiles in Cuba to protect Russia and Armenia

Russia thinks military contacts of Baku and Yerevan may be continued

NKR Defense Army: Baku's reports that Armenian side allegedly uses ammunition banned by international conventions are delirium

Oskanian's party not to demand Serzh Sargsyan's resignation

Stepanakert condemns Baku's attempts to denounce unilaterally the trilateral cease-fire agreement of 12 May 1994

Russian Foreign Ministry: Contribution to search for optimal solutions in Nagorno-Karabakh peace process continued

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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