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 Saturday, June 12 2021 12:06
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Armenian Caucus Demands U.S. Sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan ahead  of Biden-Erdogan meeting

Armenian Caucus Demands U.S. Sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan ahead  of Biden-Erdogan meeting

ArmInfo. Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders today called on President Biden to confront Turkey's President Erdogan during their upcoming June 14th meeting, pressing  him to tell the Turkish leader that the U.S. will "withhold security  aid and implement targeted economic sanctions unless Azerbaijani  forces are removed from Armenian territory and all remaining Armenian  detainees and prisoners of war are released from Azerbaijani  custody," reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).  

In a June 11th letter, Congressional Armenian Caucus leaders Frank  Pallone (D-NJ), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), David  Valadao (R-CA), and Adam Schiff (D- CA), wrote "precedent shows that  Erdogan and Aliyev will not halt their destabilizing actions and  violations of international law until the United States takes  significant action to hold them accountable." The letter continues,  "Erdogan's assistance during the war proved decisive as Azerbaijani  forces were able to make rapid advances with the aid of  Turkish-backed foreign mercenaries, many alleged to have ties with  internationally recognized terrorist groups, Bayraktar TB2 strike  drones that utilize American components and technology, and heavy  weaponry, including the potentially illegal use of cluster and white  phosphorus munitions." Evidence of the presence of U.S. parts in  Bayraktar drones can be found at anca.org/proof.  

The Congressional Armenian Caucus letter concludes, "Without strong  American leadership, Turkey and Azerbaijan will continue to violate  human rights and undermine democracy while destabilizing the region. 

The United States must make clear that there are consequences for  these hostile activities." Earlier this week, the ANCA joined with In  Defense of Christians (IDC) and the Hellenic American Leadership  Council (HALC) in urging President Biden to press President Erdogan  to stop arming Azerbaijan and end all U.S. military assistance to the  Aliyev regime.  "President Biden will be tested on his support for  Christian Armenians in his meeting next week with Turkish President  Erdogan," the ANCA, IDC, and HALC wrote in a joint statement. 

"This past April President Biden pivoted from honestly recognizing  the Armenian Genocide to recklessly green-lighting U.S. military aid  to a Turkish ally - oil- rich Azerbaijan - that's hell-bent on  completing this crime.  Next week, President Biden needs to  talk-the-talk by publicly calling on Erdogan to stop arming  Azerbaijan, and walk-the-walk by cutting off his own Administration's  military aid to the Azerbaijani armed forces." 

The Biden-Erdogan meeting comes as Turkey continues to support  Azerbaijan's ongoing aggression against Armenia, as up to 1,000  Azerbaijani soldiers continue to occupy border areas in Armenia's  southern Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces.  Seven months after the  November 9th ceasefire, Azerbaijan also continues to illegally hold  and torture over 200 Armenian prisoners of war.  Congressional  Armenian Caucus leaders have introduced legislation - H.Res.240 -  condemning Azerbaijan and calling for the immediate release of  Armenian POWs.  Advocates can call on their U.S.  Representatives to  support passage of the measure by visiting anca.org/prisoners.  

The Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC) has  partnered with the International & Comparative Law Center (ICLaw)  based in Yerevan, Armenia, to file cases and advocate before the  European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Armenian POWs taken  captive by Azerbaijan. 

Last month, ALC and ICLaw published a list of 19 Armenian POWs who  were alive in captivity and subsequently tortured, abused and  murdered by Azerbaijan. The list of 19 murdered Armenian POWs  includes seven elderly, three disabled and 13 civilians.  The full  text of the Congressional Armenian Caucus letter to President Biden  is available at:   https://anca.org/assets/pdf/061121_ArmenianCaucus_Biden_Erdogan.pdf 

To note, on June 14, a meeting of the leaders of Turkey and the  United States will take place. The White House noted that the meeting  between U.S. and Turkish Presidents Joe Biden and Recep Tayyip  Erdogan on June 14 in Brussels is an "opportunity for full-time  diplomacy." 

It is also emphasized that a meeting with the Turkish leader is a  priority item on the first program of Biden's foreign visits. "For  the United States, relations with Turkey are relations with a NATO  partner, they contain both sectors and opportunities for continuing  constructive cooperation and serious disagreements," said Jen Psaki,  a White House spokeswoman. Commenting on the agenda of the meeting,  Psaki expressed confidence that issues of regional security affecting  the world community, as well as COVID-19 and the economy, will be  discussed, and added that she will have more detailed information as  the date of the meeting approaches. 

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