US house panel to vote bil on 1915 incidents between Turks-Armenians

A U.S. panel will vote next month on a resolution to label 1915 incidents in Ottoman era as "genocide," a move that could draw criticism of Turkey.

US house panel to vote bil on 1915 incidents between Turks-Armenians

A U.S. congressional panel will vote next month on a resolution to label 1915 incidents in Ottoman era as "genocide," a move that could draw criticism of Turkey.

Turkey sees such move as an attempt against improving relations with Armenia.

On August 31, Turkey and Armenia agreed to start their internal political consultations on the establishment of diplomatic ties and development of bilateral relations.

 

Howard Berman, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Friday he intended to call a committee vote on the non-binding resolution on March 4.

The resolution would call on President Barack Obama to ensure that U.S. policy formally refers to the massacre as "genocide" and to use that term when he delivers his annual message on the issue in April -- something Obama avoided doing last year.

The panel approved a similar bill in 2007 but it was never put to a full House vote amid fears among both Democrats and Republicans that it would alienate Turkey.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians were killed in 1915 but denies that up to 1.5 million died and that it amounts to genocide. It says many Turks were also killed by Armenians in a mutual clashes during the World War One.

Turkish officials, who have insisted for a new committee consisted of historians and scientists to research the incidents, have warned that any new attempt in the U.S. Congress to brand the killings a genocide could damage U.S.-Turkish ties.

The Obama administration sees Turkey as a key ally whose help it needs to solve confrontations from Iran to Afghanistan.

Obama, who as a candidate referred to the killings as genocide, in April used the term "atrocities" in his first presidential address on the issue -- spurring criticism from Armenian-American groups.

Turkey and Armenia last year signed accords to normalize ties after a century of hostility that traces its roots to the 1915 deportation of Armenians.

But the deal has wobbled after an Armenian court last month reaffirmed the government's obligation to seek recognition of the killings as genocide, something Turkey strongly opposes.

Reuters

Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2010, 10:44
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