From left: front row Senator Maria Elena Durazo (SD #24), Council President Nury Martinez (CD #6), Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (AD #46), Councilmember Paul Krekorian (CD #2), Speaker Anthony Rendon (AD #63), LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, Congressman Adam Schiff (CD #28), 2nd row, Assemblymember Luz Rivas (AD #39), 3rd row Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (AD #45), Council Member David E. Ryu (CD #4), 4th row Assemblymember Chris Holden (AD #41), City Council Member Mitch O’Farrell (CD #13), Assemblymember Richard Bloom, (AD #50), Assemblymember Tom Lackey (AD #36), Council Member Monica Rodriguez (CD #7), Council Member Mike Lee (CD #12) (photo Michelle Mkhlian)

Legislators Condemn Azerbaijani and Turkish Aggression at LA City Press Conference

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LOS ANGELES – On Monday, October 5, 2020 Californian elected officials and US Representative Adam Schiff gathered at Los Angeles City Hall to stand in solidarity with Armenia and Artsakh. LA City Councilmember Paul Krekorian spearheaded this press conference to condemn Azerbaijan’s brutal attacks on the Republic of Artsakh that began on September 27, 2020. With the unwavering support of the Turkish government, Azerbaijan has continued to target much of Artsakh, taking the lives of hundreds of civilians and soldiers alike. Each legislator shared his or her own sentiments of solidarity, outrage, and determination to achieve peace and justice.

US Congressman Adam Schiff (CD #28) speaking (photo Michelle Mkhlian)

US Representative Adam Schiff, who led the passage of the US Resolution to Recognize the Armenian Genocide, worked with Congresswoman Jackie Speier to introduce a resolution condemning Azerbaijan and Turkey’s aggression. This resolution calls on Azerbaijan to cease its aggression, demands the installation of ceasefire-monitoring equipment along the line of contact, and urges President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to stop aiding and abetting the violence against the people of Artsakh and Armenia.

Media and press gathered before legislators at Los Angeles City Hall (photo Michelle Mkhlian)

Congressman Schiff announced: “We have a strong bipartisan message for Turkey and Erdogan — you’re a member of NATO, start acting like one! And we have a message for Azerbaijan —  cease the hostilities or there will be consequences.”

The representatives echoed each other’s stances urging President Donald Trump and the federal government to condemn Turkish and Azerbaijani aggression, call for a ceasefire, halt all military aid to Azerbaijan and Turkey, and reconsider future relations with the two countries.

LA City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell emphatically exclaimed: “We have to do everything in our power to de-escalate the attacks against the Republic of Artsakh by Azerbaijan with Turkey’s direct involvement and move forward with resolve for a lasting, peaceful outcome. This ancient bloodlust against the Armenian people that is fomented by Turkey must come to an end once and for all! The refusal of the Turkish government to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide has consequences, this is one of them — the perpetuation of hatred and violence against the Armenian people. We stand with Artsakh and the Armenian community!”

Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, whose grandparents fled Shushi and Stepanakert, Artsakh in 1920 to escape Turkish violence highlighted the media’s crucial role in this conflict.

Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (AD #46) (photo Michelle Mkhlian)

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Nazarian made his request clear: “What I ask of the press is to do your journalistic due diligence… to not be silenced. If we have 400 correspondents, why are there qualifying words being used. Why is it being said that there has been an ‘escalation of hostilities’ by now? Over 5,000 people have died in this meaningless battle, all in place to exhaust the Armenian population – that’s all this is! Yet we are staying complicit. It is your obligation to make sure that that does not happen. You are an educational force in this situation. It’s your responsibility to make sure that people have a historical context and understand what is going on.”

With the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia living in the greater Los Angeles area, the current situation in Artsakh hits home for these legislators and their constituents. Over the past week, thousands of Armenian-Americans have taken to the streets of Los Angeles resolutely rallying for media coverage, recognition, and solidarity.

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer expressed the shared anguish of Angelenos: “Today as we awakened in Los Angeles, we were all Armenians, not only because Los Angeles has such a significant Armenian-American population. today we are all Armenians because we stand in solidarity with those who are victims of aggression. Today we are all Armenians because we stand together with those who are weeping at the losses of friends and family. Today we are all Armenians because when one member of the international community is victimized by aggression, all of us are victimized by aggression.”

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer speaking (photo Michelle Mkhlian)

Like his colleagues did before him, he urged the United States Federal government to intervene and hold Azerbaijan and Turkey accountable by saying: “We are all Armenians today, let’s act like it.”

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez (CD #6) speaking (photo Michelle Mkhlian)

LA City Council President Nuri Martinez shared her sentiments, remarking poignantly: “As a mother, it’s been incredibly difficult to see images of mothers in the Republic of Artsakh and Armenia sending their sons and daughters to the front lines knowing they might not return. In the middle of a global pandemic, the people of Armenia and Artsakh are fighting to protect their people and their land. Their very existence is being threatened where the international community silently stands by. I want the people of Armenia and Artsakh to know that the city of Los Angeles and its leadership are here today to stand with you, we see your pain and we’re advocating for you.”

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