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Celebration at a Syriac Orthodox monastery in Mosul, Ottoman Syria, early 20th century, public domain via wikimedia

California “Assembly Joint Resolution No. 37—Relative to the Armenian Genocide.

legislative counsel’s digest

AJR 37, as introduced, Friedman. Armenian Genocide. This measure would, among other things, designate the year 2018 as “State of California Year of Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915–1923,” would designate April 24, 2018, as “State of California Day of Commemoration of the 103rd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915–1923,” and would call upon the President of the United States and the United States Congress to formally and consistently reaffirm the historical truth that the atrocities committed against the Armenian people constituted genocide.

Fiscal committee: no.

WHEREAS, Armenians have resided in Asia Minor and the Caucasus for approximately four millennia, and have a long and rich history in the region, including the establishment of many kingdoms, and despite Armenians’ historic presence, stewardship, and autonomy in the region, Turkish rulers of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey subjected Armenians to severe and unjust persecution and brutality, including wholesale massacres beginning in the 1890s; and

WHEREAS, The Armenian nation was subjected to a systematic and premeditated genocide officially beginning on April 24, 1915, at the hands of the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1919, inclusive, and continued at the hands of the Kemalist Movement of Turkey from 1920 to 1923, inclusive, whereby over 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children were slaughtered or marched to their deaths in an effort to annihilate the Armenian nation in the first genocide of modern times, while thousands of surviving Armenian women and children were forcibly converted and Islamized, and hundreds of thousands more were subjected to ethnic cleansing during the period of the modern Republic of Turkey from 1924 to 1937, inclusive; and
WHEREAS, During the genocides of the Christians living in the Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions, which occurred during the first one-half of the 20th century, 1.5 million men, women, and children of Armenian descent, and hundreds of thousands of Assyrians, Greeks, and other Christians, lost their lives at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Empire and the Republic of Turkey, constituting one of the most atrocious violations of human rights in the history of the world; and
WHEREAS, These crimes against humanity also had the consequence of permanently removing all traces of the Armenians and other targeted people from their historic homelands of more than four millennia, and enriching the perpetrators with the lands and other property of the victims of these crimes, including the usurpation of several thousand churches; and
WHEREAS, In response to the genocide and at the behest of President Woodrow Wilson and the United States Department of State, the Near East Relief organization was founded, and became the first congressionally sanctioned American philanthropic effort created exclusively to provide humanitarian assistance and rescue to the Armenian nation and other Christian minorities from annihilation, who went on to survive and thrive outside of their ancestral homeland all over the world and specifically in this state;
WHEREAS, Near East Relief succeeded, with the active participation of the citizens from this state, in delivering $117 million in assistance, and saving more than one million refugees, including 132,000 orphans, between 1915 and 1930, by delivering food, clothing, and materials for shelter, setting up refugee camps, clinics, hospitals, and orphanages; and
WHEREAS, The Armenian nation survived the genocide despite the attempt by the Ottoman Empire to exterminate it; and
WHEREAS, Adolf Hitler, in persuading his army commanders that the merciless persecution and killing of Jews, Poles, and other people would bring no retribution, declared, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”; and
WHEREAS, On November 4, 1918, immediately after the collapse of the Young Turk regime and before the founding of the Republic of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, the Ottoman Parliament considered a motion on the crimes committed by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) stating: “A population of one million people guilty of nothing except belonging to the Armenian nation were massacred and exterminated, including even women and children.” The Minister of Interior at the time, Fethi Bey, responded by telling the Parliament: “It is the intention of the government to cure every single injustice done up until now, as far as the means allow, to make possible the return to their homes of those sent into exile, and to compensate for their material loss as far as possible”; and
WHEREAS, On August 1, 1926, in an interview published in the Los Angeles Examiner, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk admitted: “These left-overs from the former Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the lives of millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse, from their homes and massacred, have been restive under the Republican rule. They have hitherto lived on plunder, robbery and bribery and become inimical to any idea or suggestion to enlist in useful labor and earn their living by the honest sweat of their brow”; and
WHEREAS, The Parliamentary Investigative Committee proceeded to collect relevant documents describing the actions of those responsible for the Armenian mass killings and turned them over to the Turkish Military Tribunal. CUP’s leading figures were found guilty of massacring Armenians and hanged or given lengthy prison sentences. The Turkish Military Tribunal requested that Germany extradite to Turkey the masterminds of the massacres who had fled the country. After German refusal, they were tried in absentia and sentenced to death; and
WHEREAS, Unlike other people and governments that have admitted and denounced the abuses and crimes of predecessor regimes, and despite the Turkish government’s earlier admissions and the overwhelming proof of genocidal intent, the Republic of Turkey inexplicably and adamantly has denied the occurrence of the crimes against humanity committed by the Ottoman and Young Turk rulers for many years, and continues to do so a full century since the first crimes constituting genocide occurred; and
WHEREAS, Those denials compound the grief of the few remaining survivors and deprive the surviving Armenian nation of its individual and collective ancestral lands, property, cultural heritage, financial assets, and population growth; and
WHEREAS, The Republic of Turkey has escalated its international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial, maintained its blockade of Armenia, and increased its pressure on the small but growing movement in Turkey acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and seeking justice for this systematic campaign of destruction of millions of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and other Christians upon their biblical-era homelands; and
WHEREAS, Those citizens of Turkey, both Armenian and non-Armenian, who continue to speak the truth about the Armenian Genocide, such as human rights activist and journalist Hrant Dink, continue to be silenced by violent means; and
WHEREAS, There is continued concern about the welfare of Christians in the Republic of Turkey, their right to worship and practice freely, and the legal status and condition of thousands of ancient Armenian churches, monasteries, cemeteries, and other historical and cultural structures, sites, and antiquities in the Republic of Turkey; and WHEREAS, The United States is on record as having officially recognized the Armenian Genocide in the United States government’s May 28, 1951, written statement to the International Court of Justice regarding the Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, through President Ronald Reagan’s April 22, 1981, Proclamation No. 4838, and by congressional legislation including House Joint Resolution 148 adopted on April 9, 1975, and House Joint Resolution 247 adopted on September 12, 1984; and WHEREAS, Prior to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the United States had a…
“Continues for a few more paragraphs here: https://arul.assembly.ca.gov/sites/arul.assembly.ca.gov/files/Rules%20Committee%20Agenda%20-%20April%2019,%202018.pdf

Armenian civilians, escorted by Ottoman soldiers, marched through Harput (Kharpert) to a prison in nearby Mezireh (present-day Elâzığ), April 1915.