John McCain

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John McCain, after finally giving up his presidential ambitions in 2009, clearly stated his belief that the events of WWI in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide. Before that time he was quite adept at avoiding use of the term 'genocide' in regards to Armenians.

Contents

2009 Genocide Statement

TBILISI, Georgia (A.W.)—In a recent interview with the Georgian service of Voice of America (VOA), Senator John McCain (R-Az.) said he believed there is ample evidence proving that “genocide had been committed against the Armenian people.” A transcript of the audio recording of the interview was obtained by the Armenian Weekly on Nov. 10.

“I believe that genocide was committed against the Armenian people, and I think there is ample documentation of that,” McCain said. McCain added, “However, the Armenian government people and also Turkish government people, I think also, while not forgetting the past, and the Armenian government and people never could forget the past, feels that perhaps a gradual improvement with Turkey is in order. I support that view.”

Source: Armenian Weekly

2008 ANCA Press Release

SENATOR McCAIN SHARES VIEWS WITH ARMENIAN AMERICAN VOTERS

Romney Campaign Shares prior Gubernatorial proclamations on Armenian Genocide WASHINGTON, DC – Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain, in a letter sent today to the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), reached out to Armenian American voters by outlining his views on issues of special concern to the Armenian American community.

The Arizona Senator’s letter, while notably falling short of properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide, condemns the “the brutal murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire,” and praises the Armenian American community for “ensuring that one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century is never forgotten.” The longtime legislator and Vietnam War veteran wrote that:

“It is fair to say that this tragedy, the brutal murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, has also been one of the most neglected. The suffering endured by the Armenian people during that period represented the prologue to what has come to be known as humanity's bloodiest century.”

Senator McCain described “the rise of independent Armenia from such painful experiences” as “extremely inspirational,” and praised “the vibrancy of the Armenian diaspora.” He went on to express his deep admiration for “both Armenia’s support of coalition operations in Iraq and NATO peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, as well as the Armenian-American community’s great contributions to our nation. In my visits to Armenia, I have been deeply impressed by the tremendous progress made in very difficult circumstances.” He closed his letter by expressing that he “greatly appreciate[s] this opportunity and look forward to working with the Armenian-American community in my campaign and as the next President of the United States.”

As a Senator, John McCain has opposed the Armenian Genocide Resolution and has not generally been proactive in supporting other elements of the Armenian American legislative agenda. At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Sunday, January 6, 2008 Senator McCain was reported to have answered a question on the Armenian Genocide by noting that he recognizes the Armenian Genocide, but opposes the Armenian Genocide Resolution due to the Turkish government’s sensitivities. In correspondence with Arizona constituents he wrote, in October of 2007, that, “Condemning modern Turkey for the acts of the Ottoman Empire would serve only to harm relations with the Turkish people while injecting the Congress into the sensitive role of historian of a period clearly preceding the births of all but a very few congressmen. That is not a development I wish to help facilitate.”

In 1989, Senator McCain introduced legislation supporting a peaceful and fair settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict and later supported Section 907 and the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act. In 1999, however, he voted against maintaining Section 907.

In February of 2000, Senator McCain wrote, in an earlier campaign letter to the ANCA, that he condemned “the systematic murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians,” and welcomed “Armenia's emergence as an independent nation and its growth as a democracy.” He also discussed his 1997 visit to Armenia, during which he “was fortunate to witness . . . the gains that country has made since it achieved independence from the former Soviet Union,” and noted his “sincere desire to continue to forge the closest relations between Armenia and the United States.”

The McCain campaign can be contacted at the following coordinates:

John McCain 2008 P.O. Box 16118 Arlington, VA 22215 Tel: 703-418-2008 Website: http://www.johnmccain.com/

The full text of Senator McCain’s letter is provided below.

2000 McCain Statement

February 1, 2008

Aram Hamparian
Executive Director
Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Thank you for contacting me regarding my views on issues of special concern to the Armenian-American community – a community which has contributed richly to the American fabric and has been instrumental in ensuring that one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century is never forgotten.

It is fair to say that this tragedy, the brutal murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, has also been one of the most neglected. The suffering endured by the Armenian people during that period represented the prologue to what has come to be known as humanity's bloodiest century.

Therefore, the rise of independent Armenia from such painful experiences is extremely inspirational, as is the vibrancy of the Armenian diaspora. In particular, I deeply admire both Armenia’s support of coalition operations in Iraq and NATO peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, as well as the Armenian-American community’s great contributions to our nation. In my visits to Armenia, I have been deeply impressed by the tremendous progress made in very difficult circumstances.

I greatly appreciate this opportunity and look forward to working with the Armenian-American community in my campaign and as the next President of the United States.

Sincerely,

John McCain

2000 ANCA Press Release

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW, Suite 904, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. (202) 775-1918 * Fax. (202) 775-5648 * Email.anca@anca.org

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release ~ 2000-02-24
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian ~ Tel: (202) 775-1918

McCAIN RESPONDS TO ANCA POSTCARD CAMPAIGN BY OUTLINING POSITIONS ON ARMENIAN AMERICAN ISSUES

Condemns "Systematic Murder of as many as One and a Half Million Armenians," but Fails Again to Describe Armenian Genocide as a "Genocide" Washington, DC --Republican presidential contender Arizona Senator John McCain responded today to the Armenian National Committee of America's (ANCA) national postcard campaign with a letter outlining his views on issues of concern to Armenian American voters.

Over the past four months, over 200,000 postcards addressed to Senator McCain have highlighted his record of having voted "against the Armenian Genocide resolution and failing to speak out against Turkey's denials." Through these postcards, Armenians Americans from across the U.S. asked the Senator to explain his vote in 1990 against Bob Dole's Armenian Genocide resolution and, more recently, his vote this past June to repeal the law imposing restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan (Section 907). Similar postcards were also sent to the other leading presidential candidates.

Most notable in McCain's response was his failure to properly characterize as "genocide" what he himself describes in his letter to the ANCA as the "systematic murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians." Nor does McCain's letter specifically address the issues raised in the postcards - namely his Senate votes against Armenian American issues. He did, however, note that:

"A century that began with the systematic murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians and ended with the brutal subjugation of Chechnya should not be permitted to fade from our collective memory as we look ahead into the 21st Century. In this respect, it was gratifying to witness Armenia's emergence as an independent nation and its growth as a democracy. The Armenians-American community, a large and vibrant part of our society, plays a vital role in ensuring that the scale of human suffering endured during the 20th century is not repeated through its efforts at keeping alive the memory of the horrible events of 1915-1923."

Elsewhere in his letter, McCain voiced his commitment to "forge the closest relations between Armenia and the United States," and expressed his "strong support for the Armenian American community." He cited his 1997 visit to Armenia, pledged to help Armenia continue building a strong democracy, and noted his "strong support for more than $80 million per year in foreign aid" to Armenia.

"While we welcome Senator McCain's willingness to speak to the concerns of Armenian American voters and value his commitment to strengthening U.S.-Armenian relations, we remain troubled - particularly in light of his past record - by his continued failure to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide as a genocide," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Down-playing or dismissing - through euphemisms or evasive terminology - the deliberate campaign by Turkey to annihilate the Armenian people serves neither American values nor U.S. interests in preventing future genocides."

Statements on Armenian American issues have been received from each of the four leading presidential candidates - McCain, Texas Governor George W. Bush, Vice President Al Gore, and former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley. Among these, both McCain's and Al Gore's statements stand out as failing to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide.

"The ANCA is deeply gratified by the energetic response within the Armenian American community to our million postcard campaign - a response which resulted in statements on Armenian issues being released by each of the leading candidates. We are confident that each of these candidates will want to build upon this dialogue with Armenian American voters in the months ahead," added Hamparian.

Below is the text of Senator McCain's letter to the ANCA.


2000 McCain Statement

Statement by Republican Presidential Hopeful John McCain on Armenian American Concerns

February 22, 2000

Armenian National Committee of America
888 17th Street, NW Suite 904
Washington, DC 20006

Thank you for the opportunity to express my strong support for the Armenian American community and for the continued development of relations between the United States and Armenia.

A century that began with the systematic murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians and ended with the brutal subjugation of Chechnya should not be permitted to fade from our collective memory as we look ahead into the 21st Century. In this respect, it was gratifying to witness Armenia's emergence as an independent nation and its growth as a democracy. The Armenians-American community, a large and vibrant part of our society, plays a vital role in ensuring that the scale of human suffering endured during the 20th century is not repeated through its efforts at keeping alive the memory of the horrible events of 1915-1923.

The Armenian diaspora serves as a model for the resurrection of people who have endured enormous suffering to prosper through commitment to education, hard work and charity. The Armenian- American community, a major component of that diaspora, has proven a pillar of the very virtues that I seek to espouse in my campaign for presidency.

During my 1997 visit to Armenia, I was fortunate to witness for myself the gains that country has made since it achieved independence from the former Soviet Union. Its recent political difficulties, including the tragic shooting deaths of Prime Minister Sarkissian and Parliament Speaker Demirchian, should not detract from the success Armenia has enjoyed in building democracy. For this reason, I remain a strong supporter of the more than $80 million per year in foreign aid the United States provides Armenia. The Armenian American community can be justly proud of the accomplishments of the country of its heritage, and I will always value the support I have received over the years from that community.

Again, I appreciate the opportunity to convey my respect and admiration for the Armenian-American community and my sincere desire to continue to forge the closest relations between Armenia and the United States.

Sincerely,
[signed]
John McCain




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