US-Turkey ties face test as 'genocide' resolution introduced

Democratic and Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire in Anatolia.

US-Turkey ties face test as 'genocide' resolution introduced

The resolution puts Turkish-US relations to a new test after tension over Iraq throughout the past several years. Turkish officials have repeatedly warned that relations would suffer irreparable damage if the resolution is passed, and yesterday Turkish lawmakers expressed hope that the resolution would not go ahead. "We hope the resolution will never be brought before the president. Even in this case, we hope the United States will not show weakness in the face of Armenian diaspora efforts," said Faruk Çelik, a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). "Otherwise, Turkish-US ties will be seriously affected."
Turkey denies Armenian allegations that 1.5 million Armenians were victims of a genocide campaign at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, saying that the death toll is inflated and that the killings came as the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell civil unrest caused by revolts of Anatolian Armenians collaborating with the invading Russian army.
A similar resolution was presented to the US Congress in the past but it was shelved at the last minute when the administration intervened.
Inal Batu, a lawmaker from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), admitted that prospects were much stronger for passage of the resolution as compared to the past. "Armenians are closer than ever to success," he told Today's Zaman. "But I still believe that the United States will not alienate its strategic partner." The resolution is opposed by the US administration, but analysts say the House of Representatives is most likely to pass it.

In a statement, US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson reiterated that the Bush administration's position on the issue has not changed and added: "The administration will be actively involved with the Congress to oppose this resolution."
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a co-sponsor, acknowledged that the resolution might harm U.S.-Turkish relations in the short term. Nevertheless, he said: "I'm optimistic that the relationship will go on. We will move beyond this," according to The Associated Press.
Schiff and other lead sponsors who introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives on Tuesday say they have commitments from more than 150 other members who wanted to add their names as co-sponsors after the legislation's introduction. That would be a strong show of support in the 435-member body.
The sponsors, who held a news conference Tuesday attended by two Armenian survivors of the episode, say that the move to Democratic control in Congress increases the chances that the bill will reach the House floor for a vote. "We feel very strongly that this year is the year we're going to get this passed," another co-sponsor, Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., whose state, New Jersey, has a large Armenian-American community, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.
After French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny that the killings were a genocide, Turkey said it would suspend military relations with France. Turkey provides key support to US military operations. Ýncirlik Air Force Base, a major base in southern Turkey, has been used by the US to launch operations into Iraq and Afghanistan.


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Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16