WASHINGTON — Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Casey Jr. (D-Penn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) today introduced two resolutions to require Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to detail Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s human rights abuses throughout the south Caucasus, within their own countries, and, in Turkey’s case, in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. The resolutions also require information on what role U.S. security assistance may be playing in these abuses to inform whether the United States should restrict or end security assistance and arms sales to those countries. Both resolutions invoke statutory authority under section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA).
The Senators are introducing these resolutions in light of the ongoing violence in the south Caucasus. With full support from Turkey, Azerbaijan has attacked population centers, killing and wounding hundreds of civilians and driving more than half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population from their homes. Turkey’s aggression in Syria, Libya, and northern Iraq has also produced numerous credible reports of human rights violations. Within their own borders, the governments of both Azerbaijan and Turkey have long histories of denying their own people the human rights and fundamental freedoms they deserve.
“Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression against the Armenian people – with Turkey’s full backing – has already exacted a painful toll on civilians in the region and resulted in appalling human rights abuses. The United States cannot continue providing security assistance and arms to Azerbaijan and Turkey as they move the region further and further away from peace,” said Ranking Member Menendez. “Turkey’s pattern of violence extends beyond the South Caucasus to Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and both President Aliyev and President Erdogan have inflicted appalling abuses on their own people. This resolution pushes back against Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s human rights abuses and paves the way to stop arming two governments that so often use their security forces to harm innocent people.”
The Azerbaijan resolution requests:
The Turkey resolution requests: