The issue of the Armenian Genocide has intersected with impeachment politics, due to the involvement of Marie Yovanovitch, who in addition to being the former ambassador to Ukraine is also the former ambassador to Armenia. David Boyajian has the report.
What the U.S. House Impeachment Inquiry Wouldn’t Ask Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
by David Boyajian
Turkey, the increasingly wayward NATO member, has been making more national and international headlines than usual.
On Oct. 29, for instance, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed (405-11) Resolution 296. It recognized the Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, and other Christian genocides committed by Turkey.
A contentious, widely criticized White House meeting involving President Trump, Turkey’s autocratic President Erdogan, and Republican senators then took place on Nov. 13.
Two days later, Marie L. Yovanovitch, dismissed by President Trump in May of 2019 as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, testified on national TV before the House Select Committee on Intelligence’s impeachment inquiry. Her dismissal, she alleged, occurred because Trump attorney and confidant Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr., Fox News hosts, and others had been slandering her as disloyal to the president.
There are intriguing links among the House’s Genocide resolution, the Trump-Erdogan-Senators meeting, and Yovanovitch who was Pres. George W. Bush’s (“Bush II”) Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia.
What no Democratic or Republican committee member dared ask Yovanovitch — and what she didn’t wish to discuss — was her apparent 13-year-long failure to criticize the scandalous dismissal and forced early retirement of a fine American diplomat, John Marshall Evans.
Evans was Bush II’s ambassador to Armenia (June 2004 to Sept. 2006). Yovanovitch followed him in that post (Sept. 2008 to June 2011).
Due to senators’ revulsion at Evans’ dismissal, the ambassadorship stood empty for two years.
Armenian-American communities always host U.S. ambassadors to Armenia. In February of 2005, Ambassador Evans told them, “I will today call it the Armenian Genocide” because “it is unbecoming of us as Americans to play word games.”
It was an honest admission of America’s 90-year-long recognition of Turkey’s extermination (1915-23) of 1.5 million Armenian Christians. But the State Department disliked Evans’ use of the word “genocide.” Turkey cried foul too.
At Turkey’s insistence, the State Department tells American diplomats and presidents to avoid the G word (genocide) regarding the Armenian extermination. Such spinelessness, while typical of the State Department’s traditional obsequiousness towards Turkey, is a disgrace.
Yet Ambassador Evans was simply echoing, as but one example, President Reagan’s Proclamation 4838 in 1981 which cited “the genocide of Armenians.”
Regrettably, post-Reagan presidential statements commemorating the Genocide have avoided the G word. They employ euphemisms such as “annihilation,” “forced exile and murder,” “infamous killings,” “terrible massacres,” and “marched to their death.”