Sen. Robert Menendez

Chairman Menendez Raises Artsakh War During U.S. Policy on Turkey Hearing

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WASHINGTON — Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referred to the Artsakh war and Turkey’s counterproductive role in the South Caucasus region during a full committee hearing on July 22 on U.S. Policy on Turkey with Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly).

In his opening remarks, Menendez cited the “pattern of Turkish aggression that has become the norm.”

He stated: “Last summer, Erdogan provided military support to Azerbaijani strikes against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. He also facilitated the passage of militants from Syria to fight on the side of Azerbaijan. Yet these actions solicited no penalty from the Trump Administration. No concrete reaction from the international community. No sanction. This is unacceptable.”

Menendez said he “expects more” from the Biden Administration and looks forward to “understanding how the State Department views Turkey’s role in last year’s war and what measures can be taken in response.”

During an exchange with Under Secretary Nuland, Chairman Menendez asked her if she is familiar with Turkey “facilitating the transfer of fighters from Syria to Azerbaijan during the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Under Secretary Nuland responded by requesting to “discuss that last point in a separate session” and “in another setting.”

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Chairman Menendez pressed on that he would be “looking forward to hearing from the Department” and whether there was an investigation of the “Turkish drones used by Azerbaijan in the war last summer that included U.S. produced parts, which I find totally unacceptable.”

In Nuland’s written testimony, she referred to Nagorno-Karabakh and how “we also press Turkey to avoid entanglements in regional conflicts that threaten long-term stability. The role played by third parties, including Turkey, in last year’s fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict exacerbated regional tensions. We have pressed Turkey to urge Baku to release all detainees immediately, to support the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and to help the sides work towards a sustainable, long-term political solution to the conflict.”

Also during the hearing, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) criticized Turkey’s “malign actions” against Armenians.

“We commend Chairman Menendez and Senator Van Hollen for highlighting these critically important issues and what steps the U.S. can take given Turkey’s hostile actions against the Armenian people,” stated Assembly Congressional Relations Director Mariam Khaloyan.

 

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