Armenian genocide approval

Kader Kadem | 06:02 | 0 Comments
The approval of the Armenian genocide resolution that labels 1915 ethnic clashes between Armenians and Turkish communities as “genocide” by the US House Foreign Relations Committee, despite pressure from the Obama administration and Turkey to drop the matter has shaken the diplomatic relations between the US and Turkey.

Turkey recalled its newly-appointed ambassador to Washington Namık Tan for consultations few minutes following the voting. Analysts claim that it will also greatly halt the efforts on normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted 23-22 to approve the non-binding resolution, clearing it for consideration by the full House. But it was unclear whether the measure will get a floor vote.

Two minutes following the vote that approved Armenian “genocide” bill, Turkish Prime Ministry strongly condemned the resolution and announced that they recalled Turkey’s envoy to Ankara for consultations. In a statement, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said he was seriously concerned that the non-binding resolution would harm Turkish-U.S. ties and efforts by Turkey and Armenia to bury a century of hostility.

The resolution calls on President Barack Obama to ensure US policy formally refers to the massacre as genocide, putting him in a tight spot. On the one side is NATO ally Turkey, which rejects calling the events genocide. On the other side is an important US Armenian-American constituency and their backers in Congress ahead of congressional elections in November. Turkey had warned its ties with the United States would be damaged and Ankara's efforts to normalize relations with Armenia could be harmed if the resolution were approved.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, a fellow Democrat, on Wednesday to argue the measure could harm efforts to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations, the White House said.

Turkey and Armenia signed a protocol last year to normalize relations but it has yet to pass through the parliament of either country. Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gül on Wednesday to urge quick ratification, the White House said. Despite Clinton's appeal, Berman went ahead with a committee debate and a vote. He said Turkey was a "vital" ally but "nothing justifies Turkey's turning a blind eye to the reality of the Armenian genocide.
Congressional opponents expressed concern about harming ties with Turkey, whose help the United States needs to solve confrontations from Iraq to Iran and Afghanistan.
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