Updated: Jul 15, 2022
Washington, D.C. - Today, the Assembly praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the F-16 sale ban on Turkey and accountability for Aliyev and Erdogan in the 2020 Artsakh ethnic cleansing, among other amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23), reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).
“The Assembly thanks the leadership of the Armenian and Hellenic Caucuses, and the sponsors and supporters of these key bipartisan amendments,” said Assembly Congressional Relations Mariam Khaloyan. “We also express our appreciation to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL), along with House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA),” added Khaloyan.
Speaking in support of Rep. Jackie Speier's (D-CA) amendment regarding Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) stated that many members have been “very concerned over the years about the constant waiver of requirements under Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act because the bottom line is that Azerbaijan has continued its aggression against Armenia and started a war against Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh a couple of years ago.”
“We don’t believe there’s any justification for waiving this because of the constant threat that Azerbaijan poses not only to Nagorno-Karabakh, but also to Armenia itself that continues ever since that war,” Pallone continued.
Offering the amendment on the House Floor sponsored by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) that prohibits the sale of F-16s to Turkey, Rep. Pallone emphasized the destabilizing behavior of Erdogan’s Turkey and its flagrant violations of international law.
“We can’t ignore the Erdogan regime’s human rights abuses and anti-democratic actions at home that he uses to maintain his grip on power,” Congressman Pallone stated.
Rep. Pallone continued: “The sale of American advanced fighter jets to Turkey will not incentivize Erdogan to suddenly transform into a good ally. More likely, these weapons will lead to further death and destruction in the region. For far too long, the United States has allowed Erdogan to dictate his terms and hide behind Turkey’s status as a NATO ally. He has avoided facing real-life consequences greater than a slap on the wrist for his flagrant violations of international law at home and abroad, and it is time that we finally say enough is enough.”
The House of Representatives’ adoption of this amendment also reinforces the opposition of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez to the Biden Administration's proposed F-16 sale to Turkey.
The Assembly strongly supported and urged passage of the following bipartisan amendments to the FY2023 NDAA:
Amendment sponsored by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and co-sponsored by Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA),Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Dina Titus (D-NV), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Debbie Lesko (D-AZ), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Kim Young (R-CA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): This amendment "expresses the sense of Congress that the government of Azerbaijan should immediately return all Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians. Urges the Administration to engage with Azerbaijani authorities, including through the OSCE Minsk Group, to make clear the importance of adhering to their obligations under the November 9 statement and international law to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians."
Amendment sponsored by Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) andBrad Sherman (D-CA), and co-sponsored by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), David Valadao (R-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Dina Titus (D-NV): This amendment "creates a report on Azerbaijan's activities in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020 to be submitted to Congress by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State."
Amendment sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Adam Schiff (D-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): This amendment "directs the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to document details of the consideration of the waiver requirements to Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and report on whether security assistance to the government of Azerbaijan undermines a peaceful settlement to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan."
Amendment sponsored by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and co-sponsored by Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL): This amendment "prohibits the President from selling or exporting new F-16s or F-16 upgrade technology or modernization kits to Turkey unless the President provides a certification to Congress that such a transfer is in the national interest of the United States and includes a detailed description of concrete steps taken to ensure that such F-16s are not used by Turkey for repeated unauthorized territorial overflights of Greece."
Amendment sponsored by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and co-sponsored by Rep. Darin Lahood (R-IL): This amendment "requires a report within 90 days of enactment that contains an evaluation of the humanitarian situation in Lebanon, as well as the impact of the deficit of wheat imports to the country due to Russia's further invasion of Ukraine, initiated on February 24, 2022."
The Assembly also welcomed the passage of two amendments by Rules Committee Chairman McGovern to enhance the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and to strengthen monitoring, reporting, oversight, and determinations on arms sales and human rights.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.