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Scott Wilk

From left, Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks, Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, marched together in Los Angeles to join in the chorus of voices calling on the nation to recognize the Armenian Genocide on its 100th anniversary Friday.

[KHTS] -Thousands gathered Friday in Los Angeles for the March for Justice, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey.

Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, a member of the Armenian caucus in the state Assembly, joined the call for the U.S. government to formally recognize the atrocities committed during and after World War I, which the nation has yet to do.

Wilk, who gave a speech Monday on the Assembly floor citing President Barack Obama’s promise to recognize the massacre, said the nation should be less concerned about geopolitics and more about doing what’s right.

“It’s an important issue because there should never ever be ethnic cleansing anywhere in the four corners of the globe,” Wilk said, citing the nation needs to have the “moral courage” to formally acknowledge what happened.

“This was the first genocide of the 20th century,” he said, “and we can’t have reconciliation until we have recognition.”

The Armenian Legislative Caucus was formed by Assembly members Wilk, Adrin Nazarian, and Katcho Achadjian.

“There’s no closure because they haven’t really recognized what they’ve done was wrong,” said Inessa Chavez, an Armenian Santa Clarita Valley business owner, likening the nation’s formal stance to putting “salt on the wound.”

And the tension for Armenian Christians living near the border with Turkey still exists today, Chavez said.

“When I went to Armenia and I went around the border,” Chavez said, “I was told, ‘Do not go near the border, do not cross that line.’” There were threats and stories of persecution for those who had, she said.

From a CNN article: For 7th year in a row, Obama breaks promise to acknowledge Armenian genocide
In 2006, after the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia was asked to resign for using the term Armenian genocide, then-Sen. Obama hammered the Bush administration for not taking a stand.
“The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence,” he said.
But that was then.
And now, as was the case with Bush, Obama regards Turkey — the only Muslim majority country in NATO — as a more crucial ally than Armenia. Turkey has the second-largest military in NATO, behind only the U.S., and is a crucial ally when it comes to Syria, ISIS, Iran and other Middle East issues.
And Turkey denies this history.
Thousands gathered Friday in Los Angeles for the March for Justice, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey
Thousands gathered Friday in Los Angeles for the March for Justice, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire in modern-day Turkey
“We cannot define what happened in 1915 as a genocide,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN on Tuesday.
Why Turkey won’t say the G-word when it comes to the Armenians
In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book about genocide, Obama’s current Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power hammered U.S. policy makers for not acknowledging or acting to stop such atrocities.
“No U.S. president has ever made genocide prevention a priority, and no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on,” she wrote.
Background about the Armenian Genocide
What preceded the mass killings of Armenians that began 100 years ago?
The Ottoman Turks, having recently entered World War I on the side of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were worried that Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire would offer wartime assistance to Russia. Russia had long coveted control of Constantinople (now Istanbul), which controlled access to the Black Sea — and therefore access to Russia’s only year-round seaports.
How many Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire at the start of the mass killings?
Many historians agree that the number was about 2 million. However, victims of the mass killings also included some of the 1.8 million Armenians living in the Caucasus under Russian rule, some of whom were massacred by Ottoman forces in 1918 as they marched through East Armenia and Azerbaijan.
How did the mass killings start?
By 1914, Ottoman authorities were already portraying Armenians as a threat to the empire’s security. Then, on the night of April 23-24, 1915, the authorities in Constantinople, the empire’s capital, rounded up about 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders. Many of them ended up deported or assassinated.
April 24, known as Red Sunday, is commemorated as Genocide Remembrance Day by Armenians around the world. Friday is the 100th anniversary of that day.
How many Armenians were killed?
This is a major point of contention. Estimates range from 300,000 to 2 million deaths between 1914 and 1923, with not all of the victims in the Ottoman Empire. But most estimates — including one of 800,000 between 1915 and 1918, made by Ottoman authorities themselves — fall between 600,000 and 1.5 million.
Whether due to killings or forced deportation, the number of Armenians living in Turkey fell from 2 million in 1914 to under 400,000 by 1922.
How did they die?
Almost any way one can imagine.
While the death toll is in dispute, photographs from the era document some mass killings. Some show Ottoman soldiers posing with severed heads, others with them standing amid skulls in the dirt.
The victims are reported to have died in mass burnings and by drowning, torture, gas, poison, disease and starvation. Children were reported to have been loaded into boats, taken out to sea and thrown overboard. Rape, too, was frequently reported.
In addition, according to the website Armenian-genocide.org, “The great bulk of the Armenian population was forcibly removed from Armenia and Anatolia to Syria, where the vast majority was sent into the desert to die of thirst and hunger.”
Was genocide a crime at the time of the killings?
No. Genocide was not even a word at the time, much less a legally defined crime.
The word “genocide” was invented in 1944 by a Polish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin to describe the Nazis’ systematic attempt to eradicate Jews from Europe. He formed the word by combining the Greek word for race with the Latin word for killing.
Pope Francis recently referred to the killings of Armenians as a “genocide,” a move that upset Turkey.
Genocide became a crime in 1948, when the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The definition included acts meant “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
Who calls the mass killings of Armenians a genocide?
Armenia, the Vatican, the European Parliament, France, Russia and Canada. Germany is expected to join that group on Friday, the 100th anniversary of the start of the killings.
Who does not call the mass killings a genocide?
Turkey, the United States, the European Commission, the United Kingdom and the United Nations.
A U.N. subcommittee called the killings genocide in 1985, but current U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declines to use the word.
Also, a year ago, on the eve of the 99th anniversary of Red Sunday, then-Turkish Prime Minister (now-President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered condolences for the mass killings, which he said had “inhumane consequences.” While Turkey vehemently continues to reject the word “genocide,” his remarks went further than those of any previous Turkish leader in acknowledging the suffering of Armenians.

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Oct 23, 2020
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 296,821 L.A. County Cases, 7,000 in SCV
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday confirmed 23 new deaths and 2,773 new positive cases of COVID-19, including 56 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday, Oct 23, 2020
Sixth Round of ‘Homekey’ Funding Includes $24M for L.A. County
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a major injection of new Homekey funding made possible by the Legislature to expand and support the state program, helping thousands of families experiencing or at risk of homelessness find permanent, long-term housing solutions.
Friday, Oct 23, 2020
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City of Santa Clarita officials delivered the 2020 State of the City event Thursday in true COVID-19-era format: virtually, while shining a light on local essential workers who have toiled tirelessly since the onset of the pandemic.
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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday confirmed 23 new deaths and 2,773 new positive cases of COVID-19, including 56 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 296,821 L.A. County Cases, 7,000 in SCV
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