Armenian lobby

Armenian lobby

The main aim of this  lobby is to defend Armenian diaspora, Armenia and Nagorno- Karabakh separatists' interests. Armenian lobby carries out and realises its political objectives and policy in the countries such as the United States, the Argentina, Ethiopia, Uruguay, Lebanon, Iran, Russia, Syria, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus. Just in the USA the Armenian community owns 23 newspapers and magazines, publishing houses, radio and television means. Today Yerevan gets aid in the amount of averagely $ 200 million from the United States every year. According to Zbigniev Bjezinskinin the Armenian lobby in the United States is one of the most effective ethnic one.

Establishment history

In 1820, when the missionaries came to the Ottoman Empire, they chose Armenian community as the target for their activity. Some Armenians went to the States to get their education and stayed there forever. In 1930 a trading contract was signed between the Ottoman Empire and the USA and the Americans involved Armenians as their representatives in business operations. In 1890-1900 years about 12,000 Armenians moved to the USA and since then Armenian parties had become much more active.

The leading Armenian political parties formed at the end of XIX and early XX centuries.

1. “Hinchak” party—1887
2. “The Federation of Armenian Revolution”, Dashnaksutyun Party---1890
3. Armenian liberal democratic party “Ramkavar” (Egept)—1921
4. Armenian Progress League (the USA)

The establishment of the Armenian Republic in 1918 and its collapse in 1920 deepened ideological and political fragmentation among the parties.  It caused formation of two fronts: Dashnaksutyun party opposed Soviet Power and communists, while the others were against Dashnaksututyun, at the same time they were supporting the Soviet Union.

This fragmentation affected religious life of Diasporas as well. The culmination of the religious confrontation happened with the killing of Archbishop Turyan by Dashnaks in the church in 1933. This assassination led to fragmentation of Armenian Apostolic Church. Dashnaksutuyun formed American National Armenian Church (since 1957 it has been under the subordination of Kulikiya Cathedral (Catholicos) locating in Lebanon), 12 out of 15 existing apostolic churches remained under the reign of Echmiadzin in the Soviet Armenia.  Diasporas fragmentation caused a number of public organizations separation. Meanwhile, to influence domestic and foreign policy of the United States became one of the main directions of the Armenian Diasporas’ the activity.

Until the Armenians were forming their lobbies, people, who were not Armenian by origin, were engaged in Armenian affairs. They were mainly representatives of various religious, humanitarian, missionary organizations and Western diplomats in the region.  The Armenians presented the draft resolution to U.S. Congress first in 1924 and in this resolution the Ottoman Empire was charged of mass murder of Armenians. The major activity of the Armenian Diasporas after World War I was aimed  to prevent the establishment of economic and political relations between the Republic of Turkey and the USA. “American Committee Opposed to the Lausanne Treaty” that was created by the Armenians, was charged in this activity.  Committee members were consisted of not only Armenians, but also religious leader, charitable organizations, and members of Congress. However, this Committee had gained some success in U.S Senate, in 1927 the USA State Department built diplomatic relationship with Turkey and after a year in 1928 the Senate approved this document.  Also Armenian organizations were making all efforts in Armenians’ emigrations to the USA. In 1927 Jonson-Reed Immigration Statement was adopted and it regulated emigration quotas to the United States. American Armenians and the organizations supporting them were making all their efforts in acceptance of the Armenians as refugees and making easy their coming to the USA territory. After World War II “American National Committee for Homeless Armenians — ANCHA” thought about analogical measures and built  all the conditions for immigration of 25,000 Armenians to the USA.

One of the important stages of the political activities of the Armenian Diasporas was to finance Armenian nationalists’ terror acts in 1970-1980 years and exculpate it. The aim of these terrorists was to achieve the recognition of the so-called genocide by Turkey and the world community.

ASALA and Armenian revolutionary army- the two groups closely related to Dashnaksutyun-- murdered Turkish diplomats, set off an explosions. They were strengthening their terror activities day by day  and began commiting large-scaled terror acts and mass slaughter. In addition to all mentioned  above, they were able to create groups to  influence Washington.

Dashnaksutyun  considered “American Committee for the Independence of Armenia — ACIA”  their first lobbist group which was established in 1918.

In 1972 the most influential members of Diasporas, who were in opposition to Dashnaksutyun, established "The Armenian Assembly of America" s (AAA). For this purpose they involved authoritative men’s finance as well.  Two Armenian origin professors of George Washington University are considered to be the founders of assembly. They are   Steven Mugar (Stephen Mugar) and Hirayir Hovanyan. (Hirair Hovnanian). At the present time, "The American  Armenians National Committee "  and "The Armenian Assembly of America," are operating separately.

The main objectives of Armenian lobby

1. To recognize so-called Armenian genocide
2. To provide Armenian diasporas’ participation in political processes
3. To strengthen the USA-Armenia relationship
4. To get support for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh separatists
5. To influence the USA foreign policy corresponding to Armenian Diasporas’ interest.

Organizational structure and working methods

"The American  Armenians National Committee (AANC) " has much more representations and office network in comparison with“The Armenian Assembly of America” . The headquaters of both organizations are located in Washington D.C, they have got offices in Yerevan and Khankendi as well. AANC has got 45 brunches in 25 states of the USA and 2 regional offices that are situated in Glendale in the west (Californiya) and Utertown cities in the east (Massachusetts). The representations of this organization in France, Great Britain and Italy are functioning,  and AANC  has also  had its representative in the European Union.

Besides a headquater, Armenian assembly has also  got a regional office in Bewerly Hills (Californiya). In addition, they have a small office in Cambridge being engaged in “Armenian Tree” project and New York office  dealing with the issues relating  to the UNO.  

“The Armenian Assembly of America” combining 10,000 members in itself has got an annual budget in the amount of $ 3,000,000. Both organizations are founders of different youth media organizations and institutions. AANC publishes "Zaqafqazye xronoloqiya" magazine, also they have very close relationship with “Hairenik” and “Armenian weekly” newspapers. Weekly magazine “Azbarez” is published by  Dashnaksutyun.

Armenian assembly has close contacts with mass media such as Massis Weekly", "Armenian Liberty", "Snark New Agency"and "Armenian News".

In 1982 Zoryan Institute was founded in Cambridge and it is busy with researching of  Armenia, Armenian diasporas and so-called genocide. 

In order to  continue the research on so-called genocide and to propogate it, Armenian assembly established Armenian National Institute in 1997. The institute is preparing “Genocide Encyclopaedia” . Armenian assemly has signed four contracts with four Piar companies for the purpose of “Armenian issues” being on the agenda. In 1933” Armenian Youth Federation “ was formed and AANC and  Armenian Assembly have built very close contact with this organization to unite the Armenian youth and are supporting them greatly. Federation is charged in organizing olimpiads, history lessons, language courses, also it has “Hayastan”  summer camp”  and ex- leader of AANC Murad Topalyan had used this camp for the preparation of terror acts and training of terrorists.

Influence  on state agencies

In 1995 the two-party Congressmen group on Armenian issues was created in U.S. Congress (Armenian Caucus). The group was established by democrat Frank Pallone and republican Edward Porter, then Co Knollenberg replaced Porter. The group’s activity consists of including a number of documents reflecting Armenia and the Armenian Diasporas’ interests and making all efforts for adoption of them. Most of the group members are Congressmen who voted for amendment on Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act which banned U.S direct aid to the Azerbaijan government in 1992. In addition to the group, in Congress Armenian-American Democratic Leadership Council within Democratic Party and Armenian-American Republican Council within Republicans Party are functioning.

There are several influential and powerful lobbyists being engaged in Armenian matters in U.S. legislative bodies. The most distinguished among them is a former chairman of the Senate committee on financial issues Robert Douel. This person had worked for decades with his tooth and nail for Armenian issues to be in Congress and Senate agendas and for his efforts in 2001 he was rewarded by AANC.  Also the Armenian lobbyists have been achieved to buy over Senator Mitch McConnell, the head of subcommittee on finance foreign policy. During 5 years the Armenians living in the USA have transferred $ 200,000 to the Republicans Party’s account functioning in the state where McConnell lives and represents the party.  In addition, the Armenian Diasporas have allocated a great deal of money to the committee for re-election of Republican senators, leading by McConnell.

The main purpose of the enumerated groups is as follows:

1. Recognition of Armenian genocide by the U.S governmen
2. Recognition of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and assisting it
3. Amendment on Section 907 to remain in force
4. Prevention of modern weapon sale to Turkey
5. U.S assistance to Armenia.
6. Fight against Baki-Tbilisi-Geyhan project

Recognition of so-called genocide

Both the American Armenians National Committee (AANC) and the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) declare the recognition of the Armenian genocide to be their main duty, furthermore AANC puts forward territorial claims against Turkey and requires an indemnity from theTurkish government. Since 1982 both groups have been fighting for the recognition of the Armenian genocide and declaration  of  April 24 as  the genocide victoms commemoration day.

The method of choice by AANC in this matter is not only to put forward this issue in front of the USA legislative bodies, but also to make the so-called Armenian genocide be recognized in different cities and states and to try its acceptance by local legislative bodies.

Since today 43 states have recognized so-called Armenian genocide so far. In other countries also a lot of work is being done for the recognition of the so-called genocide and   in this way the Armenian lobby is trying to influence the USA. In several different countries such as France, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Lebanon, Russia, Cyprus, Canada and Argentina the Armenian lobby has achieved its main goal. In this direction the Armenians are doing a lot of activities in EU, also in UNO and European parliament.  AANC is trying to connect Turkey's EU membership issue with so-called Armenian genocide recognition by this country, is criticizing Israel in cooperation with Turkey.

The Armenian assembly is working very hard in this direction and financing “The Armenian National Institute” that is busy with the Armenian genocide recognition. In 2000 “The Armenian National Institute” held a conference devoted to “Armenian response to Armenian genocide” topic. A number of scientists and historians as well as representatives of the Holocaust Memorial Museum participated it this conference. The assembly offered to organize courses on the Armenian genocide at secondary schools and to teach it. “The Armenian National Institute” started constructing of “The Armenian Genocide” museum in the centre of Washington.

One of the major activities of Armenian lobby is to achieve the recognition of the tragedy committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1923 years as “genocide” by international community and at either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Lobbyism in the USA is to make a direct impact on the USA congressmen both in Senate and the House of Representatives in the frame of American-Armenian Congress.  Two congressmen supported by senators Robert Menendez and Mark Kirk were putting pressure on the USA government for the adoption of the resolution. In 2007 the resolution was approved by the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and by Adam Schiff, the U.S. House of Representatives member from California. As a result of the Armenian lobbyism impact Adam Schiff suggested the resolution on genocide. The resolution on genocide supported by Adam Schiff was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber on October 11, 2007. Nevertheless President Bush was worried about the negative impact of the resolution on the relations with Turkey; the document was not introduced to the House of Representatives.

On March 4, 2010, the resolution won the majority of the votes (22 out of 23) and was re-approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber. However, President Obama objected to the adoption of the resolution considering the relationship with Turkey to become worse and to obstruct reconciliation attempt between Turkey and Armenia, Committee approved it.

As we see, both AANC and AAA are enthusiastic to keep the Armenian matter in  Washington's political agenda. Therefore, meetings are regularly organized between Armenian-American community and congressmen. At the same, including a special program for future leaders in their activity plans and holding meetings between Armenian congressmen and trainees (future leaders) for this purpose has become one of the important activities of Armenian lobbying organizations in this field.  

Amerikada olduğu kimi, Avropada da erməni soyqırımının tanınması böyük narahatçılıq As in America,  in Europe  also the recognition of the Armenian genocide is a matter of great concern. Armenian lobbying in Brussels is organized by means of  two main institution: The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) and European Friends of Armenia (EFA). Both organizations are busy with influencing the EU strategies on Turkey and the Southern Caucasus.  EAFJD website expalins its objectives as given below:

1. To be a coordinator between  the Armenian communities in European Institites and European Unions;
2. To propagate and promote  the communities positions within these institutes;
3. To provide better understanding of  political and strategic issues related  to Armenia by EU;
4. To strengthen tolerance and dialogue  values of EU  concerning to Armenian matters;

So far, 10 countties out of 27 members of the European Union have recognized the Armenian genocide (Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden). In 2006 EAFJD declared Deutsche Bank of Germany to pay compensation in the amount of € 20,000,000 claiming them for possessing the property belonging to the Armenians who were killed during the genocide. A similar analogical claim was laid against the French insurance company Akha (Axa)  a year ago and in 2010  the company  agreed to pay compensation to 1,000 families. There is a well-organized and determined Armenian lobby in France that is working very hard to force the country to recognise the genicide and to criminalize the denial of genocide.  France recognized the Armenian genocide by the law  dated Juanuary 29, 2011. In addition, in January 2012, the French parliament passed a law that criminalized the denial of genocide. Therefore, in accordance with the proposed project, those who deny the genocide  will be sentenced  one year imprisonment and a fine of € 45,000.   The Armenian lobby in France has a good relationship with influential  French politicians Patrick Devedjian (the former General Secretary) and Edouard Balladur (former Prime Minister, 1993-1995) (both are Armenian in origin). According to the BBC, "Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France" (CCAOF)  (Conseil de coordination des Organisations de France Armeniennes - CCAF) reling on 500,000  French of Armenian origin, has greatly affected on the law. At the time the future president of France  pledged to legalize the criminalization the denial of genocide and in early July, 2012 the President  publicly approved the law.

Karabakh conflict and Armenian lobby 

Before outbreaking of Karabakh conflict, some famous and well-known Armenians wrote about annextion of Karabakh to Armenia in Armenian press functioning in the USA. Among these figures there were the names of Zori Balayan and Sergey Mikoyan (Anastas Mikoyan’s son). This idea was stressed by Abel Aganbekyan as well. 

As a result of the efforts of the Armenian lobby the U.S people got the information reflecting only Armenians’ opinions. The Armenian Dispora and lobbyists  achieved one of their objecties in the early 1990s– to introduce the Azerbaijanis as agressors to the western countries. It was the time when Azerbaijan encountered the information blockade.

The United States officially recognized Armenia in December 1991, and Azerbaijan in February 1992. One of the main tasks of the Armenian lobby is to achieve the recognition and assistance of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. In 1990-1994 years the Armenian Diaspora in the United States collected ten millions of dollars and sent to Armenia to finance the Karabakh war. Furthermore, AANC and Dashnaksutyun Party were engaged in conveying mercenaries and volunteers to Armenia and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as purchasing weapons and ammunition for   the Armenian army and armed forces, delivering them to the region. One of the greatest achievements of the Armenian lobby is Armenia and self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to have been financially assisted by the USA.

Ammendmend on Section 907

The most obvious evidence of the impact of Armenian lobby policy in the United States is the adoption of amendment on Section 907  of the “Freedom Support Act” in 1992.

This act was adopted for economic support in the former soviet republics, but as a result of Arenian lobby’s efforts the ammendment on Section 907 of this  act banned  the U.S. government’s direct aid to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s blockade on Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh was assumed as a basis for this amendment, but this document reflects neither Armenia’s blockade on Nakhchiven Autonomous Republic, an integral part of the Azerbaijan Republic, nor the reason of closing Azerbaijan-Armenian borders due to the fact of Armenian’s  occupation. On the other hand, the word “blockade”  stated in  the amendment " is wrong in itself, because Armenia borders on Georgia and Iran, and they have very close economic relations. It would be better to use the term “embargo” here. When the amendment was adopted, the position of Azerbaijan had not been learnt and  Azerbaijan Embassy to the USA didn’t exist at this time.

In 1998, Madeleine Albright wrote in her letter addressed to the head of  the House of Representatives:” Ammendment on Section 907 prejudices to the national interests of the United States, undermines  the efforts of the USA  to resolve the the Karabakh conflict and its neutrality in this direction”.

About 870  Armenian organizations are operating in the world against Azerbaijan and Turkey. The financial contributions to the communitiefunctioning  under the name of charity, their activities and “diplomatic” way of  recognition by the world  has been  directly realised  and regulated by the following Armenian Diaspora centres:

1) The Armenian Catholic Church ( It has a centre in 56 countries of the world. On June 4, 2001 its cell was established in Khankendi);

2) Armenian Assembly of Amerika (It covers 22 states. Its centre was established in Nagorno-Karabakh .on July14,  2001)

3) The Assembly of Armenian Lawyers (for European countries)

4) Armenian General Union of Charity (centres in New York, London.  On July 29,2001, its Nagorno Karabakh branch was established )

5) the Armenian Evangelical World Council (for European countries);

6) The Armenian Missionary Association of America (in the direction of the CIS (Commonwealth Independent States) countries, was established in Nagorno-Karabakh on  August 3, 2001,);

7) American –Armenian National Committee

8) North America Armenian Society on  providing  humanitarian assistance (was established in Nagorno Krabakh on March 3, 2001);

9) Erməni Apostol Kilsəsinin Şərqi Yeporxiyası; 9), the Eastern Eparchy of Armenian Apostolic Church

10) the Western Eparchy of  Armenian Apostolic Church

11) Vartan knights (It launched oficially in Nagorno Karabakh in 2001)

The Armenian lobby influences on world politicy seriously and by all means takes care of “suffering” nation. They  never hesitate to supoort the Armenians’ interests and needs, tend to hinder the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,  try to cover up Armenian aggression and to make the world community recognise Azerbaijan as  an agressor. 

Prepared: Nuraddin Mehdiyev


F. Sadigov “Foreign lobby and states’ interests”, Baku, the journal“Meshveret”, № 27, 2000



www.esisc.org/upload/publications/analyses/the--armenianjob/The%20Armenian%20Job.pdf  (European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center: "The Armenian Job: The role of the Armenian lobby in the South Caucasus hostility model", a report)

Yusif Gaziyev,” Armenian issue” , Baku, 2009