Former House Speaker Hastert Joins Turkish Lobby

WASHINGTON — The Turkish government has hired former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to its team of lobbyists.

The Armenian Assembly of America contends that the move is part of its continuing campaign to pressure President Barack Obama, his administration and the US Congress to stop Armenian Genocide recognition.

“Given the current genocide in Darfur and the continued denial of the Armenian Genocide, the only way to break the vicious cycle of genocide is to unequivocally affirm the past, and in so doing, prevent future genocides,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny said in a press release. “This is change we were promised and this is the change we expect.”

In 2000, when the Armenian Genocide resolution was considered in Congress, then- Speaker of the House Hastert said, “I support this resolution and I supported bringing it to the floor … I believe it would have enjoyed the support of a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives,” adding, “I believe Armenian-Americans have a right to expect their Congress to speak out.”

The resolutionwaswithdrawn at the request of President Bill Clinton.

The Hill reported that Justice Department files reveal that Hastert, the longest-serving Republican Speaker, is working on a $35,000-a-month contract for the Turkish government through the lobbying firm he joined last year.

Ardouny added that on April 24, the Assembly expects Obama to issue a statement commemorating the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, fulfilling the promise made during his campaign.

“Given the fact that (Obama) has issued statements as a senator on April 24 affirming the Genocide, given his overall talks and discussion about Genocide prevention … he couldn’t be any clearer and that is why we look forward to his April 24 statement,” Ardouny said.