PORTLAND, Maine—Baku pogroms survivor Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte discussed her family’s narrow escape from Azerbaijani aggression and the need for expanded U.S. support for the development of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh (NKR) with newly elected U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) during a meeting at his Augusta offices, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Eastern Region.
Astvatsaturian Turcotte, an accomplished lawyer and author, shared a copy of her recently published family memoire, Nowhere: A Story of Exile, with the Senator and his staff. The heart-wrenching story, told through her diary entries, documents the harrowing details of organized terror against Armenians in Baku, her life as a refugee, and her struggle to find herself, all against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Surviving the atrocities, Astvatsaturian Turcotte immigrated to the U.S. in 1992, and became a U.S. citizen in 1997.
Last December, at a Capitol Hill event the ANCA helped organize, Astvatsaturian Turcotte spoke passionately about the anti-Armenian massacres that began in 1988 and the ongoing intolerance faced by the few Armenians left in Azerbaijan—powerful reasons to continue the fight for justice and self-determination for the people of Artsakh (Karabagh). “The reality of today and the last 24 years since 1988 is that Armenians there are no safer under Azeri rule than we were in Baku,” she explained. “The anti-Armenian rhetoric and propaganda plagues its policies. Artsakh Armenians could and should never be subjected to the Azeri government.” To watch her complete remarks on Capitol Hill, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhVPeFyS5RQ.
“We applaud the work of Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, who embodies the grassroots nature of our cause and has taken initiative to work on the critical issues of interest to our community,” said Michelle Hagopian, the executive director of the ANCA Eastern Region. “We look forward to similar discussions with legislators throughout the Eastern U.S. to expand U.S. support for economic and democratic development of Artsakh.”
Sen. King was first elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2012. He currently serves on the Armed Services, Budget, and Rules and Administration Committees, as well as on the Select Committee on Intelligence.