1222)Nancy Pelosi to pose more troubles for Turkey

United States And The Armenian Question After Congressional Elections

Although concrete results have not been published yet, the victory of the Democrats in the Congressional elections of November 2006 in the US is evident. Moreover, it is equally apparent that Nancy Pelosi, the Californian representative of the Democrats will be the Speaker of the House of Representatives, which will be dominated by the Democrats for the first time since 1994. Therefore, she will be the first women speaker in the history of the House. . .

Nancy Pelosi has also attracted attention as a member of an Italian-American family having close ties with politics. His father Thomas D’Alesandro and his brother Thomas D’Alesandro III were elected as the Mayor of Baltimore for years. His father had also represented Baltimore in the House for five successive terms. The political career of Pelosi shows a similar line of success since she has been elected to the House in the all Congressional elections since 1987.

It can be said that the latest elections would have significant repercussions on the Armenian question and the acceptance of the Armenian genocide allegations in the Congress; because many recently-elected Democrats have been in collaboration with the Armenian lobby of the US and have openly declared that they have been supporting the Armenian allegations. In his twenty years long Congressional career, in every occasion, Pelosi has also worked for the recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide by the US. In some speeches that she had been delivered in the past, she argued that Turkey should recognize the so-called genocide; that the strategic partnership between Turkey and the US had so far impeded the US recognition of the so-called genocide; and that the US has been ‘morally and humanely bound’ to recognize this ‘tragic event of history’. Below there are some samples from her speeches that put forward these aforementioned arguments:

- On April 1999, in a Congressional speech she articulated that: “As we enter the Third Millennium of the Christian era, it behooves us to remember. If we ignore the lessons of the Armenian Genocide, then we are destined to continue our stumbling through the long, dark tunnel of endless ethnic-cleansings, genocides, and holocausts Let us, then, remember to remember”

- Speaking in the Congress in April of 2001, she said that: “Our alliance with Turkey should not deter us from learning the lessons of past mistakes. If we ignore the lessons of the Armenian Genocide, we are destined to repeat those same mistakes. The horrible conflicts in Sudan, Sierra Leone, and East Timor remind us that we must do more to prevent the systematic slaughter of innocent people. We must learn from the past and never forget the victims of the Armenian genocide.”

- In May of 2001, in a Congressional speech she noted that: “The sad thing about that tragedy is that it is a tragedy twice. Once in the course of the Genocide and secondly in the fact that we cannot get the United States to pass a resolution memorializing and acknowledging the terrible things that happened then . . This Armenian Genocide is a challenge to the conscience of our country and the conscience of the world. We will not rest until we have recognition of it.”

- Speaking at a Capitol Hill observance in April of 2005, she focused on Turkey’s strategic position as an impediment in front of the recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide by stressing that: “First at the time of the Iron Curtain, [they cited] the strategic location of Turkey, after that it was the Gulf War and Turkey's strategic location . . . Turkey's strategic location is not a license to kill”

Besides, Pelosi declared just before the elections that she would work for bringing a draft resolution to the Congress. As one of the cosponsors of the House Resolution 316 on the affirmation of Armenian genocide allegations in the US records, Pelosi openly said that she would bring this draft to the agenda of the Congress and would openly support its adoption. In short, it is quite probable that throughout this year a draft resolution on the recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide will occupy the Congressional agenda, this time more strongly and seriously.

In sum, the Congressional elections and a pro-Armenian speaker of the House will have considerable impact on the American perception of the Armenian question. American people will face up with the Armenian allegations more and more, and because of the lack of alternative explanations, American public opinion will perceive these allegations as ‘indisputable facts’. Besides, these allegations will be brought to the political scene and will have significant implications on Turkish-Armenian relations as well.

09 November 2006

Democrats' Victory In House To Promote Armenian Genocide Recognition
The balance of power shifted in Washington yesterday as Democrats took control over the House of Representatives, paving the way for Armenian Caucus Member Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to become the first female Speaker of the House. Pelosi's anticipated rise, coupled with the likelihood of numerous Caucus Democrats picking up important leadership positions, will expand the scope and influence of this important body in the next congressional session. As part of that power shift, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) will pass the Speaker's gavel to Pelosi, making her the first Armenian Caucus Member to hold that position. Pelosi has a strong record of support on Armenian-American issues and has regularly called on the Administration to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. She is currently a cosponsor of H. Res. 316 - a bill that affirms the attempted annihilation of the Armenian people as genocide, reports the Armenian Assembly of America.

09 November 2006

As Democrats Sweep In, New Armenian Bills On The Horizon
The Washington based Armenian lobby has announced that mid-term elections are a "reason for Turkey to worry" with regards to a possible new Armenian genocide bill on the horizon. Aram Hamparian, the director of the Armenian ANCA foundation, has asserted that a majority Democrat House of Representative would act in the Armenians' favor, and has noted that US Congressman Adam Schiff is already preparing a bill on the so-called Armenian genocide to be debated during the next term.

Also acting in the Armenian lobby's favor is the fact that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the soon-to-be Speaker of the House, has been supporting Armenian bills in the US capital for the past 20 years.

09 November 2006

New US Congress to pose more troubles for Turkey
The Democratic Party's landslide win in Tuesday's U.S. congressional polls will mean more headaches for Turkey, at least in the House of Representatives, whose control now belongs to the election's victors.

Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who is expected to become the House's first female speaker in the new Congress, already has pledged to support efforts for recognition of the Armenian killings in the last days of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

The Democratic Party garnered a clear majority in the House, Congress' lower chamber, and also may win control of the Senate after the fate of at least two contested seats there becomes clear.

The election outcome is a clear defeat for Republican President George W. Bush and his Iraq policies.

The repercussions of losing even one of the houses is enough to pose grave consequences for Bush, whose "lame duck" presidency in his remaining 26 months in office will likely worsen under increasing attacks by a hostile Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

There will also likely be adverse implications of the Democratic takeover of Congress for Turkey, although Turkey is never an actor in U.S. domestic politics, Turkish diplomats fear. The likeliest fallout will be on the Armenian genocide controversy.

"I have supported legislation ... that would properly acknowledge the Armenian genocide. It is imperative that the United States recognize this atrocity and move to renew our commitment to eliminate genocide whenever and wherever it exists. This effort enjoys strong bipartisan support in the House, and I will continue to support these efforts in the 110th Congress," Pelosi said in a recent message to a prominent U.S. Armenian publisher.

In the outgoing House, there were also resolutions for genocide recognition, but Dennis Hastert, current speaker and a close Bush ally, had never brought them to a full floor vote.

As Pelosi points out, there is strong bipartisan backing for genocide recognition in the House, and her speakership will be a great encouragement for Armenian groups who emphatically will seek a genocide resolution's passage before April 24 of next year.

The new Congress will meet in January, and new genocide recognition resolutions are expected shortly after.

A potential U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide would be a top prize for the Armenians, who subsequently would raise compensation and land issues with Ankara, the Turkish diplomats fear.

And that is not all. There is also the Iraq quagmire, and the Democrats want to shape U.S. policies in ways that could hurt Turkey's interests even more.

Turkey has suffered enough from the Republican invasion of Iraq, but there is more to come from Democratic-inspired approaches, the diplomats fear. Ankara supports continued U.S. commitment to a unified Iraq because other options will present even worse outcomes.

Recently, prominent Democrats, including leading former diplomat Richard Holbrooke, have called for a redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq to Kurdish-controlled northern areas.

At a time when Sen. Joseph Biden, a top foreign policy figure in the Democratic Party, is calling for Iraq's effective partitioning through the creation of three statelets in a very loosely federated Iraq, such proposals are likely to be increasingly embraced by the Democrats as well as by some Republicans.

Biden will become chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee if the Democratic Party wins the upper chamber's control.

Such plans, including redeployment of U.S. forces in the north, are seen by Ankara as moves that would finalize the formal creation of a Kurdish state that could have huge repercussions on Turkey's Kurdish population.

November 9, 2006
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News

Rumsfeld Resigns in Wake of Republican Defeat
U.S. President George Bush was defeated in the midterm elections, in what became a referendum on his Iraq policy. The outcome of the elections has to a great extent changed the overall political structure as well as the composition of Congress.

Above all, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the leading engineer behind the Iraq invasion, was most affected. Former CIA Director Robert Gates was appointed for that post. For the first time in 12 years, the Republicans lost their control over the House of Representatives to Democrats, who also won control of the Senate.

Describing the elections results as “disappointment,” Bush said he wanted to work with the Democrats on a number of issues, including the Iraqi situation. The Democrats will seek a new policy orientation toward Iraq. The new House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in an attempt to explain the reason for their demand for a new policy, said, “I hope the departure of Mr. Rumsfeld will mark a fresh start toward a new policy in Iraq, signaling a willingness on the part of the president to work with the Congress to devise a better way forward.”

According to the unofficial results, the Democratic Party has 229 seats in the 435-member House of Representatives, while the Republicans have 196. The Democratic Party secured 50 seats in the 100-member Senate. With the narrow majority of one seat, Democrats now are guaranteeing the majority in the upper wing of the American Congress. In Virginia, Democrat Jim Webb edged out the Republican George Allen. Allen has 10 days to request a re-count in this critical state.

In a press conference held at White House, President Bush admitted that his policies, especially the one pursued in Iraq, contributed to the defeat in the elections. Bush, who said he congratulated the Democrat leaders for their success, noted that the voters gave him a clear message: “The American people want their leaders in Washington to set aside partisan differences, conduct ourselves in an ethical manner, and work together to address the challenges facing our nation.” Bush assured the public that he would consider the views of the Democrats and independent Baker-Hamilton commission, especially on the controversial Iraqi policy.

Meanwhile, it is uncertain how the Democratic Party’s domination in the House commissions would affect Turkish-American relations, given the sympathy the Democrats have toward the Armenian allegations.

Ali Halit Aslan, Washington
November 09, 2006


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