New York, N.Y. – Photos: Dimitris Panagos
Building upon the historical and communal ties of the Hellenic and Armenian peoples, HALC, PSEKA, Cyprus Federation, and ANCA-ER signaled a new milestone in their bilateral agenda. On April 9, 2016 as part of the 195th Anniversary of Greek Independence celebrations, the Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER), the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations, and the International Coordinating Council, Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) held consultations that concluded with the adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation.
The memorandum outlines joint advocacy and public education initiatives including demands for justice for Turkey’s 1915-1923 Genocide of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians; a just and enduring reunification of Cyprus; self-determination for the people Nagorno Karabakh Republic; an end to Turkey’s economic blockades of Armenia and Cyprus; and promotion human, religious and ethnic minority rights in Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Minister Photis Photiou – the Republic of Cyprus’ Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Cypriots – also partook in the ceremony and conveyed the readiness of the Cypriot government to deepen the relations with the Republic of Armenia. A memorandum of understanding on Diaspora issues is expected to be signed between Cyprus and Armenia in September.
“Hellenes and Armenians around the world have pursued an agenda of peace and justice for over a century,” said HALC Executive Director Endy Zemenides. “Unfortunately, this agenda has too often met obstacles in American policy making circles. We are proud to join forces in the U.S. to make our voices louder, to educate more people, and to hold policy makers more accountable.”
“After decades of close, informal collaboration, we are pleased to have codified our alliance with the Hellenic-American community,” stated ANCA-ER Chairman Stephen Mesrobian. “We look forward to many successes as we continue to develop our partnership across a wide spectrum on issues.”
“The U.S. is finally starting to wake up to how unreliable Turkey is and that decades of sacrificing Armenia, Cyprus and Greece has been a disaster,” said Philip Christopher, President of PSEKA. “Together with ANCA, we are confident we can educate the American public on how supporting Armenia, Cyprus and Greece is in the best interests of the U.S.”
Kyriakos Papastylianou, the newly elected President of the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations, celebrated the Memorandum, declaring, “Formalizing the cooperation between two communities that have suffered so similarly, that have come to this country and succeeded, and that never lose sight of their heritage is something that will benefit us all.”
The new Hellenic-Armenian alliance has already resulted in a coordinated response to Azerbaijan’s wide-scale attacks on Nagorno Karabakh Republic, during which many civilians and soldiers were killed. The Hellenic and Armenian communities have long cooperated on a wide range of issues, including condemning Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus and blockade against Armenia, Turkey’s denial of the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian Genocide of 1915-1923, educating policymakers about the gross human rights violations and anti-Western sentiments in Turkey and Azerbaijan, the warmongering as well as anti-Armenian rhetoric and aggression by Azerbaijan against the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, and on protecting Christian minorities in Turkey, occupied Cyprus and across the greater Middle East.
The Hellenic American Leadership Council works to ensure the continuity of a distinct and distinguished Greek-American community; to promote a renewed commitment to civic involvement, human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world; and to enhance the historic relationship between the United States and worldwide Hellenism.
ANCA-ER is the grassroots advocacy organization representing the views and advancing the policy priorities of Armenian-Americans and friends of Armenia across the Eastern United States on a broad range of issues.