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Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearing on Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, has announced the following hearing:

“A Century of Denial: The Armenian Genocide and the Ongoing Quest for Justice”

Thursday, April 23
1:30PM
Rayburn House Office Building
Room 2175

“I appeal to the President to recognize the genocide of the Armenians. On the centenary of this tragedy we should join the German government and Pope Francis in speaking this word of truth,” said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), chairman of the Helsinki Commission, ahead of the hearing. “I also appeal to the Turkish government to recognize the genocide and issue a genuine apology. As mass atrocities unfold in Syria and Iraq, the world needs Turkey to engage constructively with its neighbors. The Turkish government can do this only after it honestly faces its own past.”

On the 100th anniversary of the first genocide of the modern era, Armenians are still fighting for recognition of the genocidal nature of the massacres that began in 1915 and resulted in the death of as many as 1.5 million people. The government of Turkey continues to deny the genocide and actively punishes those who recognize it.

The hearing will examine denialism by the Government of Turkey and the decades-long effort to seek accountability. The hearing will also provide an opportunity to assess potential countercurrents in Turkish society that could move the Government of Turkey toward recognition, and explore what the United States and other countries can do to help bring about recognition and eventually, reconciliation.

The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

  • Dr. Taner Akçam, Professor of History, Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies,  Clark University
  • Mr. Kenneth V. Hachikian, Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America
  • Mr. Van Z. Krikorian, Co-Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Armenian Assembly of America
  • Dr. Elizabeth H. Prodromou, Visiting Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

Additional witnesses may be added. The hearing will be webcast live.

In September 2000, Rep. Smith chaired Congress’s first-ever hearing on the Armenian genocide.

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