Senator Bob Menendez Raises Concerns about Turkey/Azerbaijan During Confirmation Hearing
Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing regarding the nomination of Antony Blinken to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) reported. During the over four-hour hearing, senators raised a wide range of issues from democracy and human rights to concerns about Russia, Iran and Turkey, among other American policy priorities. Incoming committee Chairman and current Ranking Member, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), expressed his hope that President-elect Biden would follow through on his pledge to recognize the truth about the Armenian Genocide. “We commend Senator Menendez for his leadership regarding U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide,” stated Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “We urge the incoming Biden Administration to stand by its commitments made with respect to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and to support Armenia and Artsakh, especially in the aftermath of the six-week war launched by Azerbaijan,” continued Ardouny. Senator Menendez also raised concerns about Turkey’s destabilizing actions in Cyprus, Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean region, its purchase of the S-400 Russian air-defense system and its support of “Azerbaijan’s aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh” (Artsakh). Further, the Senator stated that he believed that Azerbaijan committed war crimes. Current Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch (R-ID) concurred with Senator Menendez’s remarks regarding Turkey, while Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) inquired as to whether the Biden Administration would continue sanctions against Turkey for purchasing weapons systems from Russia. “What Turkey has done as a NATO ally to acquire S-400s is unacceptable,” said Blinken. Blinken also agreed with Senator Menendez that the Administration ought to have a clear-eyed view regarding Turkey. 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.