Dhimmitude at State. A press release from the Armenian National Committee of America (thanks to Looney Tunes):
REP. MARKEY LEADS CONGRESSIONAL OPPOSITION TO WHITE HOUSE RECALL OF U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ARMENIA
ANCA Calls for Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Hold Hearing on Firing
WASHINGTON, DC — Over 60 Members of Congress, led by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking for clarification on reports of U.S. Ambassador to Armenian John Evans” recall over his forthright remarks about the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
The letter was sent on the eve of a May 23rd White House announcement nominating Richard Hoagland to serve as the new Ambassador to Armenia. Amb. Evans will be relieved of his duties as soon as Hoagland’s Senate confirmation process is completed.
The Administration has recalled Amb. Evans over his February 2005 statements at Armenian American community functions, during which he properly characterized the Armenian Genocide as “˜genocide.” Following his statements, Amb. Evans was apparently forced to issue a statement clarifying that his references to the Armenian Genocide were his personal views and did not represent a change in US policy. He subsequently issued a correction to this statement, replacing a reference to the genocide with the word “tragedy.” The American Foreign Service Association, which had planned to honor Amb. Evans with the “Christian A. Herter Award,” recognizing creative thinking and intellectual courage within the Foreign Service, reportedly rescinded the award following pressure from the State Department a few days before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Washington, DC to meet with President Bush.
“Ambassador Evans has been recalled for doing nothing more than honoring the forsaken pledge of his president,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We want to thank Congressman Markey and his 59 colleagues for calling for a clarification and rejecting the Armenian Genocide “˜gag-rule” imposed by the Turkish government and, sadly, enforced by our own State Department.”
“Armenian Americans truly regret that the Administration lacks the courage to speak honestly about its reasons for firing Ambassador Evans,” added Hamparian. “We call upon the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – the Congressional panel constitutionally charged with oversight of diplomatic appointments – to hold a hearing thoroughly examining the reasons behind this firing, the role of the Turkish government, and the broader implications for the future of the Foreign Service that a senior American diplomat’s career has been ended simply for speaking the truth.”