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Assemblymember Gipson Leads Effort to Oppose Controversial Monument in Carson

For immediate release:

(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), members of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus – consisting of Assemblymember Nazarian, Assemblymember Achadjian, and Assemblymember Wilk – and Assemblymember Gatto led a successful effort to oppose construction of a controversial monument of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk being considered by the Carson City Council last night.

“To erect a statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was at the helm of the Turkish Nationalist Movement during the Armenian Genocide, is incredibly insensitive and insulting to the memories of those who died, and their surviving families,” stated Gipson. “Furthermore, it goes against the consistent position California has taken to support those affected by the atrocities.”

“I want to thank Assemblymember Gipson for his leadership opposing this project, and commend the Carson City Council for acting swiftly against glorifying an individual who was responsible for consummating the Armenian Genocide. Honoring a dictator in a park which recognizes individuals who have contributed to the ideals of world peace would have been unconscionable and a disservice to people of good will everywhere.”

Under the authoritarian leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkish Nationalists carried out deportations and ethnic cleansing of Armenians and other ethnic minorities following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War One. Despite overwhelming facts and evidence, Kemal helped perpetuate the denial of the Armenian Genocide, which remains the position of the Turkish State today.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and it is critically important that we continue to increase the public’s awareness of this tragic event,” states Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo). “I am proud of the almost 300 community members who went to the meeting to voice their opposition. I would also like to thank Assemblymember Gipson for his leadership on this issue.”

“I was proud to join my colleagues in the State Assembly and local Armenian Activists from my district to put an immediate halt to this insulting statue that would memorialize a man who denied the Armenian Genocide and led a regime of oppression at the expense of civil and human rights,” said Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Glendale).

The project was first proposed in 2012 by Los Angeles Turkish Association as a Turkish cultural project. After receiving approval by the City’s Landscape and Monument Sub-Committee to build the monument in the Carson International Sculpture Garden, the item was scheduled to be heard before the City Council. Rising community opposition of the monument led to the involvement of the state elected officials. After hours of heated debate, which included a reading of the joint letter submitted by Gipson, the city council voted unanimously against the monument.

"I applaud the Carson City Council for striking down this heinous proposal and for standing with the more than 1.5 million Armenians who lost their lives under Ataturk’s reign of terror. It is concerning that a proposal this absurd would be introduced but I’m thankful for the outcome.” Assemblyman Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).

Mike Gipson represents the 64th Assembly District. The district includes the cities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor Gateway, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, South Los Angeles, Torrance, Watts/Willowbrook and Wilmington.