2057) House Resolution 106 - Full Text & The Media Scanner 14 Oct 2007

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  1. House Resolution 106 - Full Text
  2. An American Turk Defends Turkey
  3. Turkish-American Group Objects To U.S. Bill
  4. Gen. Joe Ralston: Lies and Lockheed Behind Bush PKK Turkey Crisis
  5. Turkish Diplomacy: The View From Ottawa
  6. Genocide Conflicts With U.S. Interests
  7. CU Experts Watch U.S.-Turkish Relations
  8. Hippie Diplomacy
  9. Ambassador Sensoy’s 'Exit Interview'
  10. Trial Unnerves Turkey's Armenians
  11. Reckless Resolution: A Turkish-Armenian Feud Has No Place In Congress
  12. Turkish Press Reaction To Armenian Resolution
  13. Turkish Complications
  14. Pelosi’s Priorities
  15. The Armenian Lobby
  16. The Genocide Vote: Now Is Not The Time
  17. Timing Of Genocide Resolution Questioned
  18. Wexler Votes Against Armenian Genocide Resolution
  19. Irrationalism of American Opposition
  20. R. Nicholas Burns Interview With CNN-Turk
  21. Statement by The Jewish Community of Turkey
  22. Who To Blame For The 'Genocide' Resolution? Armenians Or Americans?
  23. Turkey Weighs Costly Retaliation On Armenian Resolution
  24. How Did Last-Minute Hopes Turn Into Disappointment?
  25. The 'Genocide Bill' And Turkey's Red Lines
  26. Downward Spiral In Us Ties Gains Added Momentum
  27. Missing Person Notices Bring Armenian Families Together
  28. Prof. Dr. Aydin: Armenian Allegations Were First Put Forward In 1895, But Received No Support From Foreign Countries
  29. Likely Passage Of Armenian Genocide Resolution Reflects White House Weakness
  30. Reckless Resolution: A Turkish-Armenian Feud Has No Place In Congress
  31. Q&A About Repercussions Over Turkish Genocide Resolution
  32. Inside the Turkish Psyche: Traumatic Issues Trouble a Nation’s Sense of Its Identity
  33. Robert Fisk: A Reign Of Terror Which History Has Chosen To Neglect
  34. Who Lost Turkey?
  35. U.S. Seeks Damage Control As Congress Passes Genocide Bill
  36. US Congress Destroys US - Turkey Relationship
  37. An Irresponsible Act
  38. More on the US Congress’ “Armenian Genocide” Resolution
  39. Pelosi Holds The Key To Armenian Resolution
  40. Putting Ourselves In The Other Man’s Shoes On The ‘Armenian Question’
  41. Belatedly, the House's History Lesson
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1st Session
H. RES. 106

Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.


January 30, 2007

Mr. SCHIFF (for himself, Mr. RADANOVICH, Mr. PALLONE, Mr. KNOLLENBERG, Mr. SHERMAN, and Mr. MCCOTTER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.



This resolution may be cited as the `Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution'.


The House of Representatives finds the following:

(1) The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland.

(2) On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers, England, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing `a crime against humanity'.

(3) This joint statement stated `the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres'.

(4) The post-World War I Turkish Government indicted the top leaders involved in the `organization and execution' of the Armenian Genocide and in the `massacre and destruction of the Armenians'.

(5) In a series of courts-martial, officials of the Young Turk Regime were tried and convicted, as charged, for organizing and executing massacres against the Armenian people.

(6) The chief organizers of the Armenian Genocide, Minister of War Enver, Minister of the Interior Talaat, and Minister of the Navy Jemal were all condemned to death for their crimes, however, the verdicts of the courts were not enforced.

(7) The Armenian Genocide and these domestic judicial failures are documented with overwhelming evidence in the national archives of Austria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, the United States, the Vatican and many other countries, and this vast body of evidence attests to the same facts, the same events, and the same consequences.

(8) The United States National Archives and Record Administration holds extensive and thorough documentation on the Armenian Genocide, especially in its holdings under Record Group 59 of the United States Department of State, files 867.00 and 867.40, which are open and widely available to the public and interested institutions.

(9) The Honorable Henry Morgenthau, United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916, organized and led protests by officials of many countries, among them the allies of the Ottoman Empire, against the Armenian Genocide.

(10) Ambassador Morgenthau explicitly described to the United States Department of State the policy of the Government of the Ottoman Empire as `a campaign of race extermination,' and was instructed on July 16, 1915, by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing that the `Department approves your procedure . . . to stop Armenian persecution'.

(11) Senate Concurrent Resolution 12 of February 9, 1916, resolved that `the President of the United States be respectfully asked to designate a day on which the citizens of this country may give expression to their sympathy by contributing funds now being raised for the relief of the Armenians', who at the time were enduring `starvation, disease, and untold suffering'.

(12) President Woodrow Wilson concurred and also encouraged the formation of the organization known as Near East Relief, chartered by an Act of Congress, which contributed some $116,000,000 from 1915 to 1930 to aid Armenian Genocide survivors, including 132,000 orphans who became foster children of the American people.

(13) Senate Resolution 359, dated May 11, 1920, stated in part, `the testimony adduced at the hearings conducted by the sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations have clearly established the truth of the reported massacres and other atrocities from which the Armenian people have suffered'.

(14) The resolution followed the April 13, 1920, report to the Senate of the American Military Mission to Armenia led by General James Harbord, that stated `[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages'.

(15) As displayed in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Adolf Hitler, on ordering his military commanders to attack Poland without provocation in 1939, dismissed objections by saying `[w]ho, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?' and thus set the stage for the Holocaust.

(16) Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term `genocide' in 1944, and who was the earliest proponent of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, invoked the Armenian case as a definitive example of genocide in the 20th century.

(17) The first resolution on genocide adopted by the United Nations at Lemkin's urging, the December 11, 1946, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96(1) and the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide itself recognized the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations intended to prevent and punish by codifying existing standards.

(18) In 1948, the United Nations War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian Genocide `precisely . . . one of the types of acts which the modern term `crimes against humanity' is intended to cover' as a precedent for the Nuremberg tribunals.

(19) The Commission stated that `[t]he provisions of Article 230 of the Peace Treaty of Sevres were obviously intended to cover, in conformity with the Allied note of 1915 . . ., offenses which had been committed on Turkish territory against persons of Turkish citizenship, though of Armenian or Greek race. This article constitutes therefore a precedent for Article 6c and 5c of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Charters, and offers an example of one of the categories of `crimes against humanity' as understood by these enactments'.

(20) House Joint Resolution 148, adopted on April 8, 1975, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1975, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, especially those of Armenian ancestry . . .'.

(21) President Ronald Reagan in proclamation number 4838, dated April 22, 1981, stated in part `like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians, which followed it--and like too many other persecutions of too many other people--the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten'.

(22) House Joint Resolution 247, adopted on September 10, 1984, resolved: `[t]hat April 24, 1985, is hereby designated as `National Day of Remembrance of Man's Inhumanity to Man', and the President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe such day as a day of remembrance for all the victims of genocide, especially the one and one-half million people of Armenian ancestry . . .'.

(23) In August 1985, after extensive study and deliberation, the United Nations SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities voted 14 to 1 to accept a report entitled `Study of the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,' which stated `[t]he Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the 20th century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are . . . the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916'.

(24) This report also explained that `[a]t least 1,000,000, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated to have been killed or death marched by independent authorities and eye-witnesses. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally Germany.'.

(25) The United States Holocaust Memorial Council, an independent Federal agency, unanimously resolved on April 30, 1981, that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum would include the Armenian Genocide in the Museum and has since done so.

(26) Reviewing an aberrant 1982 expression (later retracted) by the United States Department of State asserting that the facts of the Armenian Genocide may be ambiguous, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1993, after a review of documents pertaining to the policy record of the United States, noted that the assertion on ambiguity in the United States record about the Armenian Genocide `contradicted longstanding United States policy and was eventually retracted'.

(27) On June 5, 1996, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to House Bill 3540 (the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1997) to reduce aid to Turkey by $3,000,000 (an estimate of its payment of lobbying fees in the United States) until the Turkish Government acknowledged the Armenian Genocide and took steps to honor the memory of its victims.

(28) President William Jefferson Clinton, on April 24, 1998, stated: `This year, as in the past, we join with Armenian-Americans throughout the nation in commemorating one of the saddest chapters in the history of this century, the deportations and massacres of a million and a half Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the years 1915-1923.'.

(29) President George W. Bush, on April 24, 2004, stated: `On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1,500,000 Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire.'.

(30) Despite the international recognition and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, the failure of the domestic and international authorities to punish those responsible for the Armenian Genocide is a reason why similar genocides have recurred and may recur in the future, and that a just resolution will help prevent future genocides.


The House of Representatives--

(1) calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution; and

(2) calls upon the President in the President's annual message commemorating the Armenian Genocide issued on or about April 24, to accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians as genocide and to recall the proud history of United States intervention in opposition to the Armenian Genocide.

Trial Unnerves Turkey's Armenians
By Sarah Rainsford BBC News, Istanbul 2007/10/12

A court in Istanbul has found two Turkish-Armenian journalists guilty of "insulting Turkishness" for reprinting an interview that referred to the mass killing of Ottoman Armenians by Turks in 1915 as genocide.

The ruling came one day after the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress approved a resolution that recognises the killings as genocide, infuriating Ankara, which denies any such thing.

"I think this is the retaliation of the judiciary to that decision of Congress," says Ozlem Dalkiran, who followed the trial for the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, a European human rights group.

"It's a judicial scandal," she says.

The newspaper journalists were prosecuted under the now notorious Article 301 of Turkey's penal code for publishing comments made by their then-editor, Hrant Dink, in an interview with the Reuters news agency last summer.

Hrant Dink was an outspoken critic of state policy here on the events of 1915, a rare voice in Turkey's small ethnic Armenian community.

In January he was shot and killed outside the office of his newspaper, Agos. A teenage nationalist gunman is on trial for murder along with his alleged accomplices.

'Dangerous decision'

One of the journalists convicted of insult on Thursday is Hrant Dink's son, Arat. The other is Agos newspaper colleague Sarkis Seropyan.

Hrant Dink himself had been tried and convicted of insulting Turkishness in another article on the Armenian issue before he was killed.

"The fact Hrant was prosecuted under Article 301 was an important factor in his assassination. That way, the prosecution singled him out as a target," Agos journalist Markar Esayan underlined shortly after the latest court ruling on Thursday.

"This latest verdict of insulting Turkishness is a very serious accusation which may have very serious consequences. This court decision puts lives in danger."

The European Union has long called for the controversial insult law to be changed or repealed.

Article 301 shot to international attention when it was used to bring charges against the author and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, again for his comments on the fate of the Armenians.

"This new conviction is a particularly distressing and alarming verdict. It demonstrates once again the serious nature of Article 301," says Emma Sinclair-Webb of Amnesty International.

"It shows its implementation is still very problematic," she says.

She argues the law must be abolished.

"There also seems to be a pattern that this law is used against particular groups, Armenian or Kurdish. If so, that is extremely alarming," she says.

Frightened into silence

Other newspapers in Turkey reprinted Hrant Dink's comments. Only Turkish-Armenian Agos was prosecuted.

Just last week, President Abdullah Gul suggested changes to A301 were a possibility. But the Turkish government has shown no sign it is in any hurry.

A nationalist backlash against the US Congress resolution on genocide is likely to stall things even longer.

That debate in America has also affected Turkey's ethnic Armenian community.

Many people were frightened into silence by the murder of Hrant Dink. Now they are even more withdrawn.

"If this bill passes it will have an impact on us. But we are already facing problems," says one ethnic Armenian.

"Someone threw a sound bomb into a schoolyard recently. People in all neighbourhoods here are now courageous enough to do such things."

Reckless Resolution: A Turkish-Armenian Feud Has No Place In Congress
October 12, 2007 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The United States is in the regrettable position of having a 92-year-old problem, genocide waged against Armenians in 1915 in the old Ottoman Empire, creating a serious foreign policy and defense problem with Turkey today.

The source of the problem is the folly of the House Foreign Relations Committee, which voted 27-21 Wednesday to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning Turkey for the early-20th century massacre. It did so at the behest of some of the country's 385,000 Armenian Americans, who put pressure on the members who represent their districts.

There is no question that the 1915 genocide took place. It included ethnically and religiously based killing of civilians and was deplorable. At the same time it is important to look at historical context. The killing occurred in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, eight years before the Turkish Republic, of which modern Turkey is the embodiment, was established in 1923. Describing Armenian Americans lobbying for passage of the resolution as "Armenian genocide survivors" is a misuse of words: a person born in 1915 would be 92 now.

Here is what is at stake in 2007. The Turkish government has deemed the congressional resolution "unacceptable." Turkey, a NATO ally since the Korean War, permits the delivery of 70 percent of U.S. military air cargo and 30 percent of the fuel that goes into Iraq through its facilities. Virtually all of the new anti-mine armored vehicles transit Turkey. Also, Turkey rarely bluffs; last year it broke all military ties with France when the French parliament passed legislation making denial of the genocide a crime.

In addition, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after the holiday at the end of Ramadan, plans to ask his parliament to authorize a military incursion into the Kurdish region of Iraq, in response to the recent killing by Kurds there of Turkish soldiers and officials in Turkey.

The United States is asking Turkey not to take that action. The United States has consistently favored and protected Iraq's Kurds, starting in 1991 after the first Gulf War. American oil companies are now also seeking to take advantage of the absence of an Iraqi national oil law to sign contracts with the Kurdish regional government. Turkish military action in Kurdish Iraq would in general upset the U.S. apple cart in that part of the country.

Some anti-war Americans might think Turkey would help end the fighting in Iraq if it shut down deliveries of U.S. military equipment through its territory to Iraq. That is, however, entirely the wrong reason for passing the Armenia resolution.

Responsible congressional leadership should quietly but effectively shut down action on the resolution now. The administration of President Bush could then go to the Turks, point to that action, pledge to control the Kurds in Iraq who are attacking the Turks and ask Turkey to stay its hand rather than carry out cross-border attacks into northern Iraq.

The House committee's resolution on events in the Ottoman Empire 92 years ago is a clear case of the tail wagging the dog. It should not be allowed to occur.
October 12, 2007

Turkish Press Reaction To Armenian Resolution
Informed Comment / Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion
Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute October 13, 2007
The USG Open Source Center translates and summarizes Turkish press reaction to the US congressional resolution concerning the Armenian genocide.

'Turkey: Roundup of Press Reactions to House Resolution on Armenian Genocide
Highlights of reports and articles in the Turkish secular press about a resolution supporting allegations that Armenians were subjected to genocide by the Ottoman army in 1915 which was approved by the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on 10 October
Turkey -- OSC Summary
Friday, October 12, 2007

Istanbul Milliyet (Internet version-WWW) in Turkish--centrist, mass appeal daily, one of the country's top circulation papers, owned by Aydin Dogan, head of the Dogan Media Group--carries a 600-word report entitled "Turkey's Bargaining Chips" which highlights possible actions that could be taken by Turkey in order to persuade the US House of Representatives not to ratify the resolution in a plenary session. According to diplomatic sources, an authorization bill which the Turkish Government intends to push through Parliament in order to send Turkish troops into Iraq can be used as an important bargaining chip.

In addition, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to tell the Bush Administration during his upcoming visit to the United States in November that cooperation between Turkey and the United States about Iraq and other issues could be seriously hurt if the resolution eventually clears the House of Representatives. According to the report, Turkey may also use other options such as imposing prohibitions and restrictions on US military activities in Incirlik air base, refusing a possible US request to use Mersin port during a troop pullout, preventing or restricting the use of Habur border crossing, refusing possible US requests to join peace-keeping operations, furthering political and economic ties with Iran, including the conclusion of an energy agreement which the United States strongly opposes, and disqualifying US companies vying for military contracts.

In a 400-word article entitled "The Armenian Resolution," Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol accuses Armenian nationalists of resorting to "the ugliest forms of dirty tricks such as using humanly and religious feelings for fueling hatred and vengeance, issuing threats, and bribing people." He says: "Various US presidents described the events that took place in 1915 as a 'mass massacre.' But, Armenian nationalist were not satisfied. Their primary objective in convincing parliaments to pass 'genocide' resolutions is to prepare the ground for making forcing Turkey to meet their political demands and to pay compensations. This is a political assault."

Pointing out that American politicians downplay angry reactions voiced in Turkey, Akyol concludes by saying: "We should show them that Ankara is not bluffing and American interests in the region and the Armenian State have started to suffer harm."

In a 400-word article entitled "Why did not the Strategic Card Work?" Milliyet columnist Sami Kohen says that efforts made by the Armenian lobby in the United States and their influence on the US Congress outweighed the strategic arguments of the Bush Administration. Ascribing the passage of the resolution to pressure put and tactics used by the Armenian lobby and distrust toward Turkey due to the rejection of a motion on Iraq in 2003, Kohen points out that there are signs indicating that Ankara intends to take concrete action rather than making statements in response. He comments: "The matter should be handled not emotionally, but by taking Turkey's interests from a broad perspective despite public outrage. In other words, steps to be taken should be effective and produce the intended results without causing much harm to as or severing basic external ties. Turkey is still able to use its 'strategic card' for that purpose."

In a 300-word article entitled "Incirlik Card," Milliyet columnist Derya Sazak says that the Turkish Government which, he notes, has cooperated with the United States in the past five years is in a state of shock. Sazak asserts that expansionist policies pursued by the United States in the Middle East has changed the situation. He says: "Today the United States has new allies. A process started in the US Congress about 'Armenian genocide' at time when Turkey was planning a cross-border operation in northern Iraq because of the PKK's presence there. The 'friendly and allied' United States scored the 'Armenian genocide' goal after Johnson's letter about Cyprus, the embargo, and the 'hood' incident in retaliation for the rejection of a motion on 1 March (2003) which were among the crises witnessed in recent past. What else should happen to prompt Ankara to close down Incirlik?"

Istanbul Hurriyet (Internet version-WWW) in Turkish--centre-right, mass appeal daily, country's top circulation paper, owned by Aydin Dogan, head of the Dogan Media Group--carries a 400-word editorial entitled "Blame Falls on us, not the US Congress" by Oktay Eksi who says that a propaganda campaign waged by the Armenian diaspora will attain its goal this time. Eksi points out that successive Turkish governments did not allocate sufficient resources and personnel in order to refute Armenian allegations and to conduct an aggressive campaign like Armenians. He cautions: "Unless our government realizes the gravity of the situation and takes action based on 'war logic' rather than making empty statements, we would miss the last opportunity and face a defeat."

In a 400-word article entitled "The Biggest Retaliation," Hurriyet columnist Ferai Tinc points out that retaliation threats issued by Turkey were ignored by US congressmen because they have lost their deterrent effect and turned into political tactics mainly targeting the Turkish public. Stressing that Turkey may resort to official retaliation, Tinc says: "I am not sure whether such official retaliation could be effective. But, I know that actions it has taken in Iraq, its indifference to the PKK's terror campaign, stopping its efforts in Cyprus, and the last resolution have irreparably tarnished the United States' image in the eyes of the Turkish public. In my view, retaliation in the form of a nation's judgment is the biggest, most effective, and lasting retaliation."

In a 350-word article entitled "We Lost our Nerves," Hurriyet columnist Tufan Turenc says that Turkey was shaken by what he describes as a second blow delivered by the United States at a time when the Turkish nation was grieving for soldiers killed by PKK guerillas. Turenc criticizes the government for not responding to insidious plots hatched against Turkey and says: "Even the United States did not take them seriously although they had obeyed and sworn allegiance to it. The Armenian resolution was approved amid a big round of applause from an Armenian audience. There is no doubt that genocide will be recognized by an overwhelming majority of the members of the House of Representatives. The Justice and Development Party could not cope with terrorism and the Armenian question."

Istanbul Sabah (Internet Version-WWW) in Turkish -- Center-right, mass appeal daily; under state receivership since April 2007 pending investigation into alleged wrongdoing by former owner Turgay Ciner -- carries a 400-word editorial entitled "Shackles" by Erdal Safak cautions that if a resolution supporting Armenian allegations of genocide will sooner or later ratified by the US Congress because Hillary Clinton who, he says, describes the events of 1915 as genocide and is a staunch supporter of Armenian claims will succeed US President Bush. Safak also says that Turkey actually drew unnecessary attention to Armenian allegations by resorting to retaliations against countries where resolutions about Armenian genocide were adopted by parliaments and showed that it was its Achilles' heel although it could have resolved the problem 15 years ago without much fuss.

Istanbul Vatan (Internet version-WWW)-- Center-right, mass appeal daily, published by a group of former Sabah columnists allegedly with financial backing from media tycoon Aydin Dogan --carries a 600-word article entitled "For the Sake of Justice" by Gungor Mengi who predicts that the resolution will not be ratified by the Senate and President Bush even if it clears the House of Representatives, adding that Turkey should devise a new strategy aimed at totally eliminating the possibility of the passage of a resolution about Armenian genocide as a result of a decrease in the United States' dependence on Turkey due to security considerations.

by Juan Cole

Turkish Complications
October 12th, 2007 From Alan Bock http://eyeontheempire.freedomblogging.com
So we have yet another illustration of the general rule that when you start stirring a pot somewhere in the world you’re bound to have unanticipated consequences, and some of them will be unfortunate enough to be termed “blowback.” Although there were moments of tension during the run-up to the Iraq war, Turkey has been a close ally of the U.S. for decades, and it has long-standing incentives to stay on America’s good side because it wants to be accepted into the EU (though I’m not sure that’s all that rational a desire). But on Thursday Turkey recalled its ambassador to the U.S. to return to Ankara for “emergency consultations.”

Why? Two problems. One was the vote by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to label the mass killing of Armenians during the fading days of the Ottoman Empire (centered in Turkey) a “genocide.” Turkey has been sensitive asbout this issue forever (methinks it doth protest too much?); I remember getting a huge illustrated book from the Turkish embassy some 20 years ago (mailed to a passel of journalists) purporting to “prove” that there was no genocide. That’s one of the reasons the Bush administration opposed the resolution. You might think there’s not much of a distinction between mass murder (which Turkey acknowledges) and genocide, but in the sometimes wacky world of nation-states it seems to make a huge symbolic difference.

The other factor is a little more here-and-now and not very symbolic at all. Turkish officials are getting ready to get parliamentary authority to conduct cross-border raids into northern Iraq, from which the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with a guerrilla component that has been trying to stir up separatist power among the Kurds living in Turkey, has been conducting attacks in which 29 Turkish police, soldiers and civilians have been killed in the last two weeks. The Turkish army can probably overwhelm the PKK (though guerrilla operations can be pesky, as the U.S. should have learned in Vietnam), but a cross-border incursion by Turkey will complicate matters enormously in what has until now been the most stable and hopeful part of Iraq.
Stumble it!

This entry was posted on Friday, October 12th, 2007 at 9:59 am and is filed under Domestic Impact, Middle East, Iraq war.

Pelosi’s Priorities Oct 13th, 2007 by Jason Steck http://mvdg.wordpress.com/
Turkey, a key U.S. ally and member of NATO, has recalled its ambassador from Washington to protest the vote of a House committee to officially designate as “genocide” the killing of thousands of Armenians by Turkish forces almost a century ago. The action appears not to be the project of a merely activist or rogue House committee chair, as Speaker Pelosi has promised to schedule a full vote soon.

Pelosi’s priorities — and by extension those of of the general Democratic Party leadership — are mysterious and unclear. A consistent critique leveled by Democrats against the Bush administration has legitimately targeted the tendency of the administration to alienate U.S. allies by pursuing a ham-handed, unilateral, and morally arrogant foreign policy. Yet, a major priority of Democrats now seems to be to slap the face of a close U.S. ally in order to gain….something.

The Armenian killings might, in fact, meet the criteria for “genocide”. But what purpose is served by “officially” (and officiously) designating them as such is unclear at best. Given the historical remoteness of the conflict it judges, there appear no policymaking implications of the “genocide” designation. And with a real, active genocide going on in Darfur and a real, active war going on in neighboring Iraq, this appears a curious time to get all historically high-minded about Turkey’s Ottoman past.

The potential costs of the Democrats’ new diversion seem all too clear, however. Turkey maintains a potential spoiler role in the one area of Iraq that seems relatively stable, the Kurdish north. Turkish restraint in the face of occasional provocations by rebellious Kurds moving back and forth across the border with Iraqi Kurdistan is essential to maintaining even the tenuous progress that has been achieved in the area. A breach in U.S.-Turkish relations could threaten the U.S.’ ability to draw upon Turkey’s good favor in the event of Kurdish move.

Some on the far right have long contended that Democrats have become “invested in failure” in Iraq. Such a viewpoint might interpret Democrats’ sudden interest in the Armenian genocide as an intentional effort to sow even more dissension in U.S. Iraq policy. Such a view seems unnecessarily cynical, however, even in response to many much more malicious representations that flow daily from the far left. What seems more likely is that Speaker Pelosi’s caucus has chosen to respond to the ire of anti-war purists upset by Democrats’ failure to put an immediate end to the Iraq war by taking on a different cause with less apparent political risk to them.

And damn the consequences.

12 Responses to “Pelosi’s Priorities”
on 13 Oct 2007 at 12:39 am
1 Xel

It’s not a slap in the face. Semantically, I think that is a poor, one-sided description of this move. It is a perfectly correct but possibly superfluous and insignificant act delivered with absolutely atrocious timing.

I do agree that it is nutty to make this an issue of official designations. In the long term, it might decrease the chances of a repeat. But why now?

Ugh, cue the wingnut claims that the Dem congress did this in order to sabotage “the US’” (read: their) war “effort”.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 12:48 am
2 Tully

The potential costs of the Democrats’ new diversion seem all too clear, however.

Surely, you’re not suggesting that practical political considerations involving international repercussions affecting current ongoing conflicts and the lives of American soldiers should play any role at all when offering forth such highly-principled and triumphantly moralistic symbolic resolutions? After all, this is urgent. It took nearly a century to arrive, so it can’t possibly wait any longer! WE MUST DO THIS NOW!

Such a viewpoint might interpret Democrats’ sudden interest in the Armenian genocide as an intentional effort to sow even more dissension in U.S. Iraq policy.

Or to actively injure the US war effort by driving a wedge between the US and Turkey in pursuit of partisan political purposes and electoral advantage. Or to attempt to mousetrap more practical politicians (ones who might actually take such things as the war effort and Turkey’s assistance under consideration when voting on the resolution) so that their votes against the resolution could be waved at them in the upcoming elections as some sort of moral condemnation. I mean, IF one were overly cynical, one MIGHT conceivably interpret it that way.

Nah, that’s just crazy talk.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 12:57 am
3 Jason Steck

Ugh, cue the wingnut claims that the Dem congress did this in order to sabotage “the US’” (read: their) war “effort”.

You mean the ones that I specifically noted and then dismissed as overly cynical?

You should try actually reading the posts before commenting on them, Xel.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 1:19 am
4 Rich

Get your facts straight before writing. This is a non-partisan issue, it has been for 20 years.

Republicans as well as Democrats are supporing this issue.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 2:10 am
5 Xel

“You mean the ones that I specifically noted and then dismissed as overly cynical?

You should try actually reading the posts before commenting on them, Xel.”

Um! Sorry for not being clear. I was not in any way referring to your post. Once again, sorry for giving the wrong impression.

Me: “Ugh, cue the wingnut claims that the Dem congress did this in order to sabotage “the US’” (read: their) war “effort”.”

Tully, immediately below: “Or to actively injure the US war effort by blah blah blah blah blah… Nah, that’s just crazy talk. (LOLLERS ZARKACSM!!!)”

Me: “This sort of thing is just too good to not be bad for my health.”

on 13 Oct 2007 at 2:58 am
6 Richard

As usual Jon Stewart sums it all up nicely on the Daily Show (thanks to jewcy.com):


on 13 Oct 2007 at 4:48 am
7 Tully

Xel, if you want it without the sarcasm, here it is: It’s a transparent attempt to force a vote that the Dems will lose, but which can be used to rile up the base, and waved around during the campaigns next year as “See! The Republicans support genocide!”

Even money.

That they would even attempt to force it at this time shows that at best they do not care what the effect on the Iraq effort is. The issue has waited most of a century, and the resolution will do not one damn thing for anyone in addressing a century-old atrocity. The only reasons to push it NOW are posturing and electioneering.

Unless you want to get REALLY cynical…

on 13 Oct 2007 at 7:16 am
8 kritter

I agree with xel’s first comment. Its hard to criticize Holocaust deniers when our own ally does the same thing. Yet the timing stinks—not sure if it would ever get better.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 7:23 am
9 grognard

The Turks will get their point across when they raid across the border to get at the PKK. Can‘t wait for the reaction by Democratic presidential hopefuls who are trying to show the electorate that the Democrats are as adept at foreign policy as the Republicans. Adding this headache to the situation we now face in Iraq is about the dumbest move possible.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 9:10 am
10 Michael van der Galiën

Kim: you have become the most partisan commenter we have here.

Rich: o please. The Armenian-American groups have been pushing the issue for 20 years, that’s probably what you mean.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 10:13 am
11 Xel

“That they would even attempt to force it at this time shows that at best they do not care what the effect on the Iraq effort is.”

Neither has most of the US public and the reps up til 2006 - had they actually made an effort the latter would have something to be all testosterone over.

But I agree that there is something afoot that isn’t just a principled stance on unpleasant facts.

“Can‘t wait for the reaction by Democratic presidential hopefuls who are trying to show the electorate that the Democrats are as adept at foreign policy as the Republicans.”

Regarding the terms ” as adept”, “foreign policy” and “republicans” in the same sentence… I mean, I can see that the words are there, but… Something just locks up and dies of giggles whenever I try to do more than just look at them. They don’t… Fit.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 11:16 am
12 bob

This bill has been brough up for 25 years and has never made it to the full house floor because it was “never the right time”. When is it the right time to stop denying a genocide?

This resolution dosnt hurt U.S interests, instead it benefits us. As Tom Lantos states, this resolution will help the U.S win back its moral authority around the world. As for Turkish retaliation, the Turks have already cost several hunderd soldiers lives according to government officials by denying our troops access to iraq through the turkish borders, they also allowed many criminals to escape through turkey during the war. What kind of an ally does such a thing? Also, Turkey is very limited to its response to the U.S. Many developed nations have already accepted the armenian deaths as genocide, including Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Argentina and many others. If Turkey wishes to retaliate against these nations for recognizing the truth, then it will find its self in a very isolated world, which is why I doubt Turkey will take any serious measures against the U.S

The Armenian Lobby
Oct 12th, 2007 by Marc Schulman http://mvdg.wordpress.com/

At Spiegel Online, Gregor Peter Schmitz tells us that Stephen Walt, co-author of The Israel Lobby, was recently asked whether other interest groups had a similar influence in Washington. Walt’s response: the actions of Armenian-Americans or Cuban-Americans would never have the same far-reaching effects on US foreign policy.


Spiegel provides this accounting of the Armenian lobby:

Armenian-Americans are particularly active in California, New Jersey and Michigan — which happens to be the constituency of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House. Her Californian colleague Adam Schiff, who promoted the resolution, has the issue to thank for his own political career. His predecessor in the constituency lost his seat when he failed to push through the resolution in 2000.

Armenian groups have been bombarding their representatives over the past few years with an unusually massive PR drive. Their most important umbrella group “Armenian Assembly of America” has 10,000 members and an annual budget of over $3.5 million. It employs four different influential PR firms in Washington to keep the suffering of the Armenians on the agenda in the US capital.

Yesterday, the Armenian Assembly issued the following press release:

We applaud Speaker Pelosi for standing firm on her commitment to history and truth,” said Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “The opponents of this common-sense resolution – including the White House and the Turkish government and its army of lobbyists – have thrown every excuse at the resolution trying to create a political tsunami to prevent a vote. The entire Armenian-American community stands united with Speaker Pelosi and commends her for standing firm in the face of this alarmist drumbeat and outright blackmail by Turkey and its deniers. We know we have the support to pass it into law and I look forward to the full House going on record on this critical issue that has been neglected for far too long.

Common-sense resolution? Not.

9 Responses to “The Armenian Lobby”
on 12 Oct 2007 at 11:08 pm
1 Michael van der Galiën

it did made sense, though, to that congressman from LA who wants to be reelected.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 11:11 pm
2 Paul

Nothing more needs to be said beyond:

on 12 Oct 2007 at 11:24 pm
3 Chris

Good article Paul.

How can the same politicians who routinely swagger and curse against any foreign power that dares to threaten American interests or security now be buckling to audacious threats to the safety of our military by the leadership of the Republic of Turkey?
If Turkey does hold firm on its threats, what other uses might come from the tens of billions of dollars of aid that it demands from the Bush Administration to ensure its participation in the war with Iraq?

Who will voice outrage against our ally’s court decision yesterday to convict the son and colleague of murdered Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink for “insulting Turkishness” under the machiavellian Article 301 of Turkey’s penal code simply because they republished Dink’s remarks about the Armenian Genocide?

on 12 Oct 2007 at 11:26 pm
4 Interested

anybody check to see if any donations to the Candidate’s political fund have been made from the group or similar groups?

on 12 Oct 2007 at 11:31 pm
5 Mathew Gyoturkian

Armenians have nothing financially in comparison to the opponents, and are going head against a multi billion dollar monster (Turkish Govt. US Presidential Administration, US Weapons Makers) But the advantage is on the Armenian side, because that’s where the truth is.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 11:42 pm
6 Michael van der Galiën

Mathew: please. Not even members of the Armenian pressure groups believe that.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 1:16 am
7 Paul

“Not even members of the Armenian pressure groups believe that.”

Believe what… that the genocide is truth…?
Maybe Armenian ‘pressure’ groups don’t believe that(???) but the vast majority of historians sure do and that’s what counts.
“Let the historians decide” they say. They already have.

on 13 Oct 2007 at 2:52 am
8 Richard

Those dastardly Armenians. How dare they learn to work the system!

on 13 Oct 2007 at 9:12 am
9 Michael van der Galiën

Paul: how about actually doing some good, unrestricted research in the Turkish archives as Turkey has offered? Strange that this is ‘unacceptable.’

The Genocide Vote: Now Is Not The Time
A congresswoman explains her decision to oppose the Armenian genocide bill she co-sponsored.
By Jane Harman October 12, 2007
As one whose own family was decimated by the Holocaust, I respond very personally to charges that I would deny the existence of savage acts of inhumanity against a group of people because of ethnic, religious or racial differences -- be they Jews, Darfurians, Rwandans or Armenians.

Yet that's exactly what I was accused of last week after I sent a letter to Rep. Tom Lantos, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urging him to withdrawHR 106, which I had co-sponsored earlier in the year. Some Armenian Americans, whose passion I appreciate, have misinterpreted my determination that the time is not right to vote on such a resolution as "denial" of the Armenian genocide. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No question: The debate raging in Washington over the Armenian genocide resolution is personal. Similar resolutions have passed the House twice -- in 1975 and 1984 -- and we are poised to pass another before Thanksgiving. Whether it will be brought to a vote in the Senate remains unclear.

I originally co-sponsored the resolution because I was convinced that the terrible crime against the Armenian people should be recognized and condemned. But after a visit in February to Turkey, where I met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Armenian Orthodox patriarch and colleagues of murdered Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, I became convinced that passing this resolution again at this time would isolate and embarrass a courageous and moderate Islamic government in perhaps the most volatile region in the world.

So I agree with eight former secretaries of State -- including Los Angeles' own Warren Christopher -- who said that passing the resolution "could endanger our national security interests in the region, including our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia."

Timing matters. I asked a leader in California's Armenian American community just days ago why the resolution was being pushed now. "They didn't ask me," he said. It wasn't his call, and he probably would not have pushed it.

So what is the endgame? I would hope that, regardless of the outcome of the vote, Turkey and Armenia will work toward reconciliation and normalization of relations.

About 70,000 Armenians live in Turkey, and Turkey continues to admit more. Yet Article 301 of Turkey's Constitution prohibits insulting "Turkishness" -- a disturbing provision that has been used to punish Armenians in Turkey who insist the genocide took place. Surely an act of reconciliation would be to embrace the Armenian population in Turkey and repeal Article 301.

Further, Turkey and Armenia have held recent talks about normalizing relations. They share mutual interests in trade, especially in the energy sector. Now is a good time to engage.

And, of course, there is the need for stability in the region. Turkey shares a border with Iraq, and the need for its continued restraint with the Kurds and for its leadership in promoting stability and resolving the Israel-Palestine issue is obvious. Armenia can help.

In a democracy, groups have the right to protest, and surely I respect the right of California's large Armenian community (and the L.A. Times' editorial board) to disagree with my position on the timing of yet a third congressional vote on the genocide. But once that vote occurs, that fabulously talented community can usefully channel its passion and energy into productive next steps toward reconciliation.

Condemning horror is important. But moving through the anger and psychic hurt to positive action is true emancipation.

Jane Harman (D-Venice) represents California's 36th Congressional District.
Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Times

Timing Of Genocide Resolution Questioned
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With tensions rising between the United States and Turkey over a resolution that labels the World War I-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces "genocide," many are asking why the House is debating the resolution now.

Rep. Tom Lantos says passage of the genocide resolution would help restore America's moral authority.

The House Foreign Affairs committee voted 27-21 Wednesday to approve the nonbinding resolution, which declares that the deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians from the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 -- resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million -- was "systematic" and "deliberate," amounting to "genocide."

The Democratic leadership has not scheduled a final vote.

Administration officials have lobbied against the resolution, saying good U.S-Turkish relations are vital to U.S. forces in Iraq. The Pentagon says 70 percent of the military's cargo heading into Iraq either flies into or over Turkey.

But House Democrats view the resolution as part of their mandate to restore America's moral authority around the world.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday said arguments that Turkey is too vital an ally to alienate has delayed the resolution for too long. Watch Speaker Pelosi defend the timing of the debate »

"I've been in Congress for 20 years. And for 20 years, people have been saying the same thing." Pelosi said Thursday. "There's never a good time. And all of us in the Democratic leadership have supported... reiterating the Americans' acknowledgement of a genocide."

"As long as there is genocide, there is need to speak out against it," she added.

An one of the chief supporters of the resolution, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos, D-California, was unmoved by the administration's arguments that Turkey would block the use of U.S. airbases on Turkish soil.

"The Turkish government will not act against the United States because that would be against their own interests," he told CNN. "I'm convinced of this."

Lantos, the only member of the House who is a Holocaust survivor, says passage of the resolution would also help to bring a moral dimension back to U.S. foreign policy.

"One of the problems we have diplomatically globally is that we have lost our moral authority which we used to have in great abundance," Lantos said. "People around the globe who are familiar with these events will appreciate the fact that the United States is speaking out against a historic injustice. This would be like sweeping slavery under the rug and saying slavery never occurred."

But Democrats are not united behind the measure, Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, has sent a letter to Pelosi on Thursday opposing the resolution, saying the resulting backlash threatened by Turkey could disrupt "America's ability to redeploy U.S. military forces from Iraq," a top Democratic priority.

And the top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday that bringing the resolution up for a final vote would be "totally irresponsible."

"The fact is that Turkey is a very good ally of the United States. They are critical to our security, not only her to but our troops oversees," Boehner said. "Let the historians decide what happened 90 years ago." E-mail to a friend

CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Wexler Votes Against Armenian Genocide Resolution
By LARRY LIPMAN Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, October 11, 2007

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler was the only Jewish member of a House committee who voted with the Bush administration this week in opposing a resolution recognizing as genocide the World War I-era massacre of Armenian civilians under the Ottoman Empire.

The Bush administration, former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and all eight living former U.S. secretaries of state, have warned that the resolution could jeopardize American security by offending Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and the successor to the Ottoman Empire.Politics watch
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The Associated Press reported today that Turkey had ordered its ambassador to the United States to return to Turkey for consultations as a result of the committee's vote, but had not permanently recalled him.

Turkey has protested repeated attempts in Congress to recognize as genocide the killings of possibly 1.5 million Armenians beginning in 1915. Turkey has claimed the number of deaths was far fewer and that many of the victims died as a result of civil war and the unrest of the period.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted the sense-of-Congress resolution 27-21 Wednesday setting up a floor vote, possibly as early as next week.

Seven of the committee's eight Jewish members, including Rep. Ron Klein, a Democrat from Boca Raton, supported the measure. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California who is Jewish, and has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Wexler called the matter "a very difficult issue," but said he voted against the resolution out of concern for America's national security.

"I think America can ill afford to lose our ally, Turkey, at this critical juncture," Wexler said in a phone interview. "We have 165,000 troops in Iraq and about 70 percent of our support for those troops goes through Turkish airspace or Turkish ports and they are a critical ally of the state of Israel, and the Middle East is a cinder box."

Wexler said he was concerned by the warnings of the former secretaries of state that the resolution could result in "great potential harm" to America's national security interests.

"The bottom line for me, ultimately, was Ö what is best for America's national security?" he said.

Wexler, who is chairman of the committee's subcommittee on Europe and co-chairman of the Congressional Turkey Caucus, has been a staunch supporter of Turkey as a moderate Islamic country that can serve as a bulwark against radical Islamic regimes in the Middle East.

He noted there are several other Jewish members of Congress, including Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., the former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who also oppose the resolution.

Wexler's announced Democratic primary opponent, former Broward County Commission Chairman Ben Graber, has criticized Wexler for opposing the Armenian genocide resolution.

A son of Holocaust survivors, Graber has called Wexler an "embarrassment" to the Jewish community for opposing the resolution.

Klein, said he appreciated the concern about the resolution's impact on U.S.-Turkish relations, but argued that Congress has "an obligation in expressing our morals and beliefs about events like this."

Klein also described the committee vote as "a tough vote," because he considers Turkey a "strong ally" of the United States and Israel and appreciates what it has done to help the United States in Iraq.

But Klein noted there is a saying in the Jewish community: "Never again," referring to the Holocaust, "and I believe very strongly that the way you will be able to avoid future Darfurs and future genocide is being vigilant about education and learning from the past."

One of his first bills as a member of the Florida Legislature required Florida public schools to teach about the Holocaust, Klein said.

In considering the Armenian resolution, Klein said its supporters repeatedly noted that the current Turkish government was not responsible for actions that occurred during the Ottoman Empire.

Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., the committee's chairman, has indicated he will ask the panel to adopt a resolution next week expressing support for Turkey and its role as a U.S. ally. Klein said he expects both the Turkish resolution and the Armenian resolution to be considered at the same time by the full House.

"I will do everything in my power to continue to speak up for the relationship that the country of Turkey has with the United States," Klein said.

Irrationalism of American Opposition
The Istanbulian, Personal Chronicles of a Turkish Journalist, October 11, 2007

The US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee approved a resolution that recognizes so-called "genocide" of Armenians and there were shocking scenes during the debate that show how American democrats can behave irrationally for sake of some local Armenian votes. It was unbelievable but it was the first time that I saw Republicans make sense.

There were very shocking moments. Here are some of my observations about the irrationalism of the most important committee of the legislative organ of world's sole superpower:

* Catholicos Karekin II, supreme patriarch of the Armenian Church, blessed the US Congress with his prayers before the meeting. After the result, he went down to the hall to congratulate American politicians.

OK, you try to fabricate a history under the roof of a national assembly, but can't you please -at least- pretend as if you are "neutral"?

* According to the Washington Post, "all 10 committee members from California (where the census counts 231,777 Armenians) voted aye, while both members from Indiana (total Armenians: 904) voted no."

Populism at its best.

* "I'm a survivor of the genocide. I don't like Turkey -- they are animals there," reported Perouz Kalousdian, 97, during the session.

Personally, I always respect elders, but I don't have any respect for racists, whatever age they are at. This woman was just 5-year old when the tragic events happened, so she probably doesn't remember anything at all. She is a proof about how Armenian Diaspora members are being brainwashed for decades just to hate Turks. Perouz Kalousdian is an old example of made-up racism and -for instance- System of a Down members are younger examples.

* Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), arguing passionately for the label of genocide, acknowledged that the measure was "an irritant to our relationship with Turkey" but then concluded: "That's the best reason to vote for it."

It's logical, right? Either Sherman really wants some -you know- "action" somehow or he carries some popcorn in his skull, instead of a brain.

* Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) warned that the measure could cause U.S. troops "to pay an even heavier price" -- then voted yes.

Tom Lantos LOVES popcorn.

* Rep. Luis Fortuno (R. Puerto Rico) confessed that he had decided to vote aye at first, but after President Bush personally phoned him, he changed his mind and voted against the resolution. He said that the main reason for his U-turn is that Bush spoke to him in Spanish, asking, "Hola amigo! Como estas, Luis?"

Can you believe that a key resolution for the American foreign policy is dependent on such politicians? What if will next time Bush make another gaffe and swear to Luis in Spanish, instead of making compliments? Would Puerto Rico declare independence?

* "Whether it is the Ottoman Empire, the Japanese Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or, indeed, the Roman Empire, I mean, we could go on for a long time condemning the atrocities committed under each," pointed out Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.).

Tancredo has probably forgotten "vaporized" American Indians or Vietnamese or Latin Americans in the past and also today's Iraqis. I think that self-criticism is the most important virtue, before you blame someone.

* The Washington Post writer Dana Milbank concluded it in the best possible way:

"If it's within Congress's authority to be the arbiter of the Armenian genocide, will it next confront the Romans for the rape of the Sabine women, or the Greeks for sacking Troy? And if attacking the Ottomans, why not weigh in on the siege of Constantinople in 1453?"

Metin said...

Rep. Tom Lantos' opening statement shows how idiotic he can be . . .

"In recognizing this tragedy, some in Congress have seen common themes with the debate our committee held earlier this year on a resolution about another historic injustice – the tens of thousands of so-called “Comfort Women” forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan. The current Japanese government went to great length to attempt to prevent debate on that matter, and dire predictions were made that passage of such a resolution would harm U.S.-Japan relations. Those dire consequences never materialized."

In other words, he's calling on Turkey's bluff . . .

By the way, Lantos, (although his name sounds Greek), is a Hungarian-American who considers himself a 'secular Jew.'

Ron Paul, my favorite Libertarian, did not vote. And Tancredo who is running for the Presidency (as the 'he's so far to the right that there is no way will he make it') candidate.

Tancredo also calls for considering “taking out Muslim holy sites” if another terror attack were to take place on American soil.

R. Nicholas Burns Interview With CNN-Turk
3 October 2007, Press Release: US State Department

R. Nicholas Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Washington, DC October 10, 2007

QUESTION: Thank you for being on CNN [Turk] today.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Thank you for inviting me on the program.

QUESTION: I would like to ask you first of all about the Armenian resolution. You know it passed today and a lot of Turkish officials said they are very disappointed after the resolution passed. What are your thoughts about it?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: We share the disappointment of the Turkish government. We are deeply disappointed by the vote in a committee of the House of Representatives today. We worked very hard to oppose it. President Bush, Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Gates all were very active in the last several weeks trying to convince the Members of Congress that there was a better way to handle this.

We understand how delicate this issue is and how sensitive it is for the Turkish people as well as the Armenian people. And frankly, we favor some of the proposals put forward by the Turkish government over the last several years -- for historical commissions, for an opening of the Ottoman Archives. Surely that's the better way to handle such a delicate issue of events that took place nearly a century ago so we're disappointed. We understand there's disappointment in Turkey. We will obviously, Secretary Rice will be contacting the Turkish leadership as soon as she can tomorrow morning to express that disappointment and to reconfirm the friendship and solidarity of the American government with Turkey.

QUESTION: That is what I was going to ask you, actually. What American government is going to do. You said that Rice would be making contact tomorrow, but what else the American government can do to improve the relationship between Turkey and the United States?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I think we've sensed that with the recent Turkish elections, with the new Turkish government there is an opportunity for the United States and Turkey to improve our relationship and to fix some of the problems that characterized that relationship over the last several years. We had a very good beginning. As you know, President Bush and Prime Minister Erdogan have been in frequent contact, including last Friday. We have great respect for President Gul. I think we've been able over the last several months to lift up the relationship. We're working closely with Turkey on Iraq, where Turkey is going to host in Istanbul in the beginning part of November a major international conference to support the Iraqi government. Turkey's been a friend of the United States on the issue of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Turkey has also been a very good friend in trying to sort out the problems caused by Iran in the Middle East.

So I think one of the messages from America to Turkey today is, Turkey's a valued ally of our country. We respect Turkey and the Turkish nation and we don't want this vote, which is a vote by a separate branch of our government, not by President Bush's government. We don't want this vote to interfere with the very good cooperation that we've had.

QUESTION: And when do you think if Nancy Pelosi would bring the vote to the Floor?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: That's up to the leadership of the Congress. We will continue to oppose this resolution. It is not the right way forward. It is not good for U.S.-Turkish relations. It's not good for our hope that there might be improved relations between Turkey and Armenia, and the Turkish government can count on the continued support for the Turkish government and opposition to this particular resolution.

QUESTION: I want to go to another subject which is very sensitive between Turkey and the United States -- Iraq and PKK. I want to actually start asking that General Ralston's resignation. Will you tell us a little bit about why did he resign and also will there be any other person who will take over his position?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: General Ralston accepted the offer of President Bush and Secretary Rice more than a year ago to be a contact, an emissary to the Turkish government and the Iraqi government on this issue. He did a great job. I think he was able to make progress to the extent that we now have at least a dialogue between the Iraqi government, the Kurdish leadership in Northern Iraq, the Turkish government and the United States. His work, of course, will be taken up by all of us. I know Secretary of State Rice believes very strongly in the need for the United States to be an effective partner to Turkey in this process. She is focused on this issue, as are all the rest of us who work for her in the State Department.

QUESTION: And the PKK issue, what are your thoughts about the cross-border operations that the Turkish government is planning in the future?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: We are deeply, deeply sensitive to the fact that Turkey has lost 27 Turkish citizens in recent weeks to PKK terrorists. We oppose the PKK. It is a vicious terrorist organization. We have classified it as such. We've tried to urge other countries to list the PKK as a terrorism organization, and I think Turkey can expect from the United States very strong support to try to inhibit and prevent such attacks from occurring in the future.

Now that's a very difficult thing to do because the PKK operates from a different country...from Northern Iraq. It operates from a mountainous area. So there has to be more effective cooperation among Iraq, Turkey and the United States to prevent this, but I don't fault the Turkish government in that. I think the rest of us need to do more to help the Turkish government to deal with the threat.

QUESTION: Can you explain that a little bit more? You said that we need to give more support. What is that more support that the United States can do for Turkey because --

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I think first and foremost, as you saw in recent weeks, the Iraqi and Turkish governments signed an agreement on security cooperation. That was a positive step forward and we hope that agreement buttressed by the participation of the United States working with both governments can lead to more effective action. I don't want to be more detailed than that. This is a very difficult business, obviously, to attend to, but Turkey can rely upon the United States to continue to oppose the PKK and to be a good and solid friend to Turkey and the Turkish nation.

QUESTION: Thank you very much for your time.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

Statement by The Jewish Community of Turkey
This week, The Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will consider House Resolution 106, formally titled "Affirmation of the United States Record on the Armenian Genocide Resolution." As the Jewish Community of Turkey, we would like to explain our opposition to this resolution:

What happened to the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire during World War I - death, destruction, displacement - was a terrible tragedy. But eminent historians do not agree as to whether the term "genocide" is the appropriate description of that tragedy. More fundamentally, we believe this issue should be decided first and foremost on the basis of evidence adduced by historians, not on the basis of judgments by parliamentarians or Congressmen, who naturally (and understandably) may be influenced by concerns other than historical facts. We cannot help but note that the world recognizes the Holocaust because of the overwhelming evidence, not because of the declarations of parliaments.

However, we have a more immediate concern, which is the viability of U.S.-Turkish bilateral relations. As many reading this ad know, the popularity of the United States is at an all-time low these days in Turkey, mainly due to the Iraq war and related issues. This deeply saddens us. We are among those Turks who sincerely value our nation`s relations with the United States – which is more than merely a NATO ally or a strategic partner but also a source of democratic inspiration. For us, passage of House Resolution 106 is an important setback, for it portends long-term, if not permanent, damage to U.S.-Turkish relations. The same apprehension was clearly expressed in the letters of past Secretaries of State and Defense addressed to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The overwhelming majority of Turkish co-citizens view Congress`s intervention into this issue as inappropriate, unjust, and gratuitously anti-Turkish; should it pass, it is safe to predict that the public response will make these deeply-held feelings all too clear.

Furthermore, there have been insinuations that our security and well-being in Turkey is linked to the fate of Resolution 106. We are deeply perturbed by any such allegations.

For the sake of honest historical inquiry, a long term and final reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian Nations and, for the sake of the United States` relations with a vital friend and an ally which is the most democratic Muslim-majority nation in the world, we hope the honorable members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will defeat House Resolution 106.

The Jewish Community of Turkey
http://www.genocidereality.com/default2.asp 10/11/07

Who To Blame For The 'Genocide' Resolution? Armenians Or Americans?
October 12, 2007 Vural CENGIZ

Armenian-Americans succeeded at last: House Resolution 106 claiming two million Armenians were the victims of a genocide in 1915 by Ottoman Turks was accepted at Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives and it will be voted on the floor. How could two million people be collected while only one million Anatolian Armenians existed? Where did hundreds of thousands of Armenian immigrants come from to the U.S. after all being exterminated? Many questions like those, which make this so-called genocide unreal, do not need to be answered. Because, in reality, some members of Congress are pleasing their constituents to guarantee votes in the 2008 elections. Everything looks perfect in California. But not in the Middle East! Not for the U.S. The actions of the U.S. administration are working against the Turkish Republic again. First, father Bush cost Turkey tens of billions of petrodollars by starting the first Gulf war; then, Bush Junior set not only Iraq but the entire Middle East on fire. All at Turkey's cost. Turks have been very patient with their American allies. First, the Pentagon teamed up with Kurds instead of Turks for their big journey into Iraq and pushed Turks away claiming they did not want the partnership. Then they laid all the blame of the disastrous war on Turks. Later, some Turkish troops were captured and treated like enemies in northern Iraq. Ambassador Wilson claims American troopers did not recognize them. The Turkish Armed Forces say this is impossible; U.S. troops acted to punish Turks for not letting U.S. troops in Turkey. I think the latter makes more sense. Last, American guns reached terrorist hands attacking Turkey from northern Iraq. These were not enough. Now, Turks are not only called national enemies but the enemies of humanity.

Let's remember some history lessons:

Ottoman Turks were in power in the Middle East for 800 years. All nations kept in peace with the "millet" system, which is very familiar to Sephardic Jews. Arabs and Jews as well as Armenians and Kurds lived next to each other. All nations including Armenians in the Empire kept their religious beliefs and cultural values… Who were the Armenians? For Turks, they were the traitors of Antioch defense in 1080, who sold Turks to crusaders. Ottomans still let Armenians live in the Empire in peace knowing they had betrayed their ancestors many times in history. Then Armenians teamed up with Russians from 1870 to 1915 and were punished for their killings and betrayal. Now, Turks are accused by their number one ally with an unfair political prosecution. As a Turkish-American, I have things to say: First, I am proud of my first homeland and her history. Second, this resolution has nothing to do with American people. People of the U.S. do not have any idea what is going on in the U.S. Congress. They just know that their president is playing a war game, which has already cost 4,000 American lives as well as that of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Neither the U.S. Administration nor Congress are doing their job like providing healthcare to all people and good education to youth. Americans do not know more than this. They just know Turkey is the name of a bird and a good ally. Third, if each one of the Congressman and Congresswoman asked their constituents about the bill all they would hear is: “It is not our business.” Last, Americans love the country of Turkey and would like to visit it at least once. Therefore, Turks should not get more frustrated with Americans and see the real animosity here. It is Armenian-Americans who are pressuring their representatives for their claims against their historic neighbors, the Turks. What they only care about is their revenge without considering Turkish war losses. Do they care for American national interests? No. Do they care for the well being of other Americans? Certainly not. Since Armenian-Americans and Armenians are the ones who want to hurt Turks, they, not Americans, should be seen as real troublemakers. Actually, House Resolution 106 does not make much sense for Armenians themselves. What if Turks say “Okay, we understand Armenian animosity here; we accept the challenge. We are ending all diplomatic relations with Armenia and canceling all flights for Armenians in and out of Turkey and over Turkey. No more use of Turkish ports until Armenia demolishes all genocide statues in Armenia?” What will Armenian-Americans do to stop Turkey? Ask Congress to stop giving billions of dollars as foreign aid, which does not exist? What else could Turks do? How about deporting all 70,000 illegal Armenian workers from Turkey? Who are they going to blame for loosing their jobs? How about the other 10 percent of Armenia's population depending on this income from Turkey? Are they going to love Armenian-Americans who enjoy the high living standards of Western civilization with their Mercedes Benz and Gucci while Armenians in Armenia live in poverty and chew endlessly on genocide gum on an empty stomach? Armenian-Americans had one shot only and they fired it. Who is going to be hit is unknown now. If Turks make sure it is Armenians to be hit, that shot will be the one Armenian-Americans fired in their own foot.

* Vural Cengiz is the president of the Azerbaijani American Institute, and former president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. He can be contacted at vurcen@yahoo.com

Turkey Weighs Costly Retaliation On Armenian Resolution
Mutual efforts at the highest level in Ankara and Washington have failed to prevent approval by a US House of Representatives committee of a resolution calling the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide, leading both capitals to thoroughly analyze what should be done to control damage to bilateral relations.

On Wednesday hundreds of Turks marched to the US Embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul to protest the bill.

In addition to the problems facing the future of bilateral relations, Turkey must also cope with the challenge of finding a reasonable way to respond to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs decision that will, in particular, ease the pressure from public opinion that has been fueled by anger against the US due to its inaction regarding the terrorist threat posed to Turkey by the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).

The ball is now in the court of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who can, in theory, block the measure. Few expect she will do so, however, given her open support for the genocide allegations and pre-election pledges to work for congressional acknowledgement of the charges.

Nonetheless, in the face of growing impatience among both Turkish officials and the public, the Turkish capital is not likely to wait to see whether or not the resolution will be sent forward for a vote by the entire House of Representatives. As of Thursday afternoon, senior military and diplomatic figures were discussing ways to retaliate in a lengthy meeting held at the Foreign Ministry in Ankara.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, following long hours of situation analysis, the Foreign Ministry issued a government statement in which it clearly warned that relations with the United States would be damaged by the US House committee's approval of the controversial resolution.

The government statement came as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepared to ask Parliament, controlled by his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), to authorize a military incursion into northern Iraq to fight PKK members using the region as a base.

“The committee’s approval of this resolution was an irresponsible move which, coming at a very sensitive time, will make relations with a friend, ally and strategic partner that have been nurtured over generations, more difficult,” the government said in the statement. “Our government regrets and condemns this decision. It is unacceptable that the Turkish nation has been accused of something that never happened,” it stressed.

Turkey, which has NATO’s second biggest army and plays a key role in a volatile region, has warned of damage to bilateral ties and military cooperation if Congress passes the measure.

The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs approved the resolution 27-21. The text says the World War I killings of Armenians constituted a “genocide” that should be acknowledged fully in US foreign policy towards Turkey, along with “the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution.” It now goes to the House floor, where Democratic leaders say there will be a vote by mid-November. There is a companion bill in the Senate, but both measures are strictly symbolic and do not require the president’s signature.

Ankara said it would do all it could to stop the resolution from being approved by the assembly.

Ankara rejects the Armenian position, backed by many Western historians and some foreign parliaments, that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I.

Turkey says many Muslim Turks died alongside Christian Armenians in inter-ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.


In an apparent display of having taken Ankara’s warnings seriously, US President George W. Bush and his top lieutenants had been unusually blunt in attacking the resolution in the run-up to the vote, with Bush saying: “We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people. This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings. Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror.”

After the vote was passed, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said, “We are disappointed by the vote at the House of Representatives today.”

The department was communicating to Turkey its unhappiness with the vote and its desire to keep working closely with Ankara, he added.

Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gül, denounced the vote as “unacceptable” earlier Thursday. “Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States ignored appeals for common sense and once again moved to sacrifice big issues to petty games of domestic politics,” he said.

“This is not an action that suits or benefits the representatives of a great power like the United States,” he added.


One particular sentence in the government statement on Thursday actually indicates countless windings on the thorny road ahead of Turkish-US bilateral relations: “The fact that a committee of the House of Representatives moved ahead with this resolution -- which will jeopardize a strategic partnership and relations with a friend and ally country at an extremely sensitive period of time -- is an irresponsible attitude.”

Faced with the day after, the Turkish capital is now thoroughly and, perhaps, reluctantly evaluating ways of retaliation. Thoroughly and reluctantly because retaliation through halting cooperation with the United States in strategic and economic areas is a double-edged sword that may equally harm Turkey, analysts agree. High tension in relations with the United States may prove to be an undesired situation for the Turkish government, which has worked carefully and successfully to achieve economic stability throughout the nearly five years that it has been in power.

As the White House had underlined, Turkey is an important logistical player in the Iraq war. The bulk of supplies for troops in Iraq pass through Turkey’s Incirlik airbase, and Turkey provides thousands of truck drivers and other workers for US operations in Iraq. Supplies also flow from the base to troops in Afghanistan.

A closure of Incirlik and halting cooperation with the United States on Iraq could be two ways of hurting US interests in a critical region like the Middle East. There are other steps that Turkish officials have refrained from publicly mentioning, such as cutting Turkey’s ongoing support for operations of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan or further tightening restrictions on ties with Armenia. There are tens of thousands of Armenians working in Turkey who do not meet the proper legal requirements, such as obtaining work or residence permits. And although there are no formal ties with Armenia, charter flights are in service between the two countries and Turkish goods find their way into the Armenian market.

Unfortunate link

Furthermore, Turkish officials have lately been sending out warnings that not only US-Turkey ties but also regional cooperation with Israel would suffer if the Armenian resolution is passed in the US Congress, after influential US Jewish group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) changed its long-held position and decided to call the World War I events “genocide.”

Meanwhile, the growing resentment among Turkish officials and the public triggered by the loss of dozens of civilians and soldiers in attacks by the PKK leads many analysts to suspect a potential link between the resolution and a proposed Turkish incursion into northern Iraq.

“Unfortunately there is a link between the bill and a Turkish incursion into northern Iraq because the Turkish public will be greatly angered towards the United States, and the government will share those feelings,” Faruk Logoglu, a former influential Turkish ambassador to Washington, told Reuters.

“However, I don’t think the madness of the Armenian bill would be a green light for an incursion into northern Iraq. On the contrary the US should, and may, do something against the PKK to appease the Turkish state and its people,” he said.

A senior Turkish diplomat said Ankara was disappointed with US and Iraqi authorities for failing to stop the PKK. He said the Turkish government was still hoping that their US and Iraqi counterparts would deal with the terrorists.

“When it comes to the link between the Armenian bill and a possible incursion into northern Iraq, I can only say that we have never been this close to carrying out a large-scale military operation into northern Iraq,” the senior Turkish diplomat told Reuters.

Mutual pain

As a matter of fact, the strategic aspect of relations between Ankara and Washington was once again highlighted on Thursday, this time on the US side, in the form of a press statement by the US ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson.

Noting that US President Bush, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, other administration officials and he “categorically oppose” the resolution, Wilson said he “deeply regretted the decision by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to send this resolution forward for a vote by the entire House.” While expressing hope that the resolution will not be passed, Wilson pledged he would continue his efforts to convince US congressmen not to approve it.

“The partnership between Turkey and the United States is strong and will remain so. We are determined to pursue our common vital interests and strengthen our shared values,” Wilson concluded.

12.10.2007, EMINE KART, Today’s Zaman

How Did Last-Minute Hopes Turn Into Disappointment?
Turkey was relatively hopeful just before Wednesday's vote on the Armenian genocide resolution in the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.

US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos (C) played a key role in voting.

Both the Turkish and the US governments strongly opposed the resolution and were joined by DLA Piper, the Livingstone Group, public relations company Fleishman-Hillard and other companies that officially conducted lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey as well as by big corporations that have sizable commercial deals with Turkey such as Boeing and BP. There were even some good indications.

“The situation is not very gloomy,” was the message given by a government official to Today’s Zaman one day before the vote in the committee. US authorities who mobilized against the resolution, making statements, sending letters and making phone calls, particularly President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, gave the same message to their Turkish colleagues as well. It was suggested that the resolution would be rejected with 25 “no” votes against 23 “yes” votes or that there would be a 23-23 tie. But these mathematical estimates depended on many factors, particularly the visible and invisible roles played by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos and several influential congressional leaders.

Key choices

Turkish Ambassador to the US Nabi Sensoy had met with Pelosi and Hoyer. There was no change of their attitude on behalf of the Turkish thesis. On the contrary, Pelosi reiterated that if passed by the committee, the resolution would be voted on in the House. Obviously, Pelosi and Hoyer had exerted considerable influence on Lantos in bringing this issue to the committee’s agenda. The vote choice by Lantos, who managed to hide it to the last minute, was key since several committee members made up their minds according to his attitude.

Lantos’ opening speech was ambiguous. Even when he said, “...but none of us wants to see those supply lines [to Iraq and Afghanistan] threatened or abruptly cut,” he gave the impression that he would vote “no” on the resolution. It was hard to change the minds of the members who had already and resolutely made up their minds about supporting or rejecting the resolution. When even a single vote was decisive, both sides were trying to convince the undecided members in the gray area. In this respect, the greatest disappointment for the Turkish side was Republican Illinois Representative Donald Manzullo, though the Bush administration and his party fellows had specifically lobbied him.

As the committee members made their five-minute speeches, predictions were being made about the result of the vote. A breathtaking competition was going on in the big meeting hall, No. 2172, in the Rayburn House Office Building. Even after four hours of negotiations, nothing was certain. During the break, representatives lobbied their fellow colleagues. For instance, Democratic Representatives Gary Ackerman and Brad Sherman -- who implied they would vote “yes” in their speeches -- were very active in these lobbying activities. Some representatives even gave some of their speech time to Ackerman and Sherman.

Two votes changed everything

Finally, the voting started. Giving the first vote as the chairman, Lantos made his real motives known: Yes. The undecided members got the message. Meanwhile, two committee members waited outside during the vote, but entered the hall and voted “yes” when there were 21 “no” votes against 25 “yes” votes. It may be argued that if only two of the undecided members had voted “no” instead of voting “yes,” there might have been a tie of 23-23, after which those undecided members who waited outside might not have entered the hall, and the number of “yes” votes might not have risen to 27.

Resolution 106, which accuses the Turkish rulers in 1915 of genocide, passed the committee phase after a terrible tactical competition. It’s not an accident that Sensoy described the result as a “disappointment” immediately after the vote. Perhaps the Turkish side would not feel as bad if there was a clear difference between the yes-no votes as was the case in previous votes on the resolution-- 40-7 in 2005. Last-minute hopes were replaced by disappointment and sadness. Turkey’s feelings were shared by the Bush administration. Calling upon Rice’s order, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns expressed sadness over the issue to Ambassador Sensoy.

What may happen next?

The committee’s decision is not the final step. The resolution must also be voted on in the House of Representatives floor and receive the majority’s support. However, the fact that 226 representatives of the 435-member House have already signed the resolution is a clear indication of the difficulty of preventing its adoption when it is introduced to the House. Until now, Pelosi gave no sign that she would not use her authority to bring the resolution to the House. The indications to the contrary show that she would make this move no later than Thanksgiving Day, i.e., by the end of November, at the latest. There are also rumors that she might prefer to do so in 10 days. Armenian and Turkish lobbies have already started to work in order to influence the result of a vote in the House. Although adoption of the resolution may seem more likely, the developments in the field may change this picture. If the Bush administration continues exerting pressure on the Republicans and if Erdogan’s government announces how it will react and what measures it will take if the resolution is adopted, this may influence the outcome.
12.10.2007, ALI H. ASLAN, Today’s Zaman Washington

The 'Genocide Bill' And Turkey's Red Lines
October 12, 2007
In punishing the US for a House panel marching over Turkey’s ‘red line’ regarding Armenian genocide charges, Turkey must try not to punish itself. Otherwise, anti-US measures cannot be sustainable


Turkey's red lines are turning pink and even disappearing. The United States is totally ignoring all Turkish red lines, be they about northern Iraq, related to its war against terrorism or to the national pride of the country, like the Armenian genocide claims, or the Suleymaniyah hood incident.

Turks are fed up. Turks have started to question what kind of an allied relationship this country has with the United States that Washington is so ignorant of the sensitivities of Turkey. It's rather odd. When it comes to the U.S. Congress, the American administration is telling Ankara that despite its opposition to such developments it just cannot control the legislature adopting resolutions annoying Ankara, but when the Turkish Parliament adopts a decision, or rejects a government motion requested by Washington, the United States engages in a campaign of punishing Turkey.

It's difficult to believe that the U.S. administration has done enough to defeat the Armenian genocide bill at the House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee. We do not believe the U.S. administration will take sufficient initiatives to prevent the bill being sent to the full House for a possible vote.

The members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as the Armenian presidency, are now saying that the uproar by Turkey over the development need not be taken so seriously because after some yelling the Turks will sit back and everything will return to normalcy. Is that not what happened with France after that country adopted a similar resolution?

Of course such a perception developing about Turkey is a result of the great successes of the government in Ankara. “Turks yell for a while, than forget everything and normalcy will be restored,” is a conviction that Ankara must defeat urgently.

That is why, irrespective of how legitimate the Turkish punitive actions against the hostile and humiliating House Foreign Affairs Committee action be – and don't forget that it is highly possible that the bill will be submitted to the full House by Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the same understanding – Turkey must make sure not to punish itself while trying to punish the United States.

Now, what do we have in the cards? Denying over flight permission to U.S. military planes. Giving up joint military maneuvers. Refusing over flight right to planes destined for Armenia. Like the United States does for Cuba, impose stringent economic-political-cultural embargo on Armenia. Declare an embargo on U.S. companies in defense industry tenders. Refuse the U.S. the right to use Incirlik Air Base for purposes other than directly related to NATO purposes. Refuse the U.S. use of Turkish territory for logistical support for its troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. This list perhaps could be extended with some more creative items.

However, which of these measures are in our interest and which will be hurting our interests more than they punish the United States must be calculated well if we want to sustain them otherwise, the perception that “Turks react a bit, but then move on to double or triple economic relations as they did with France” will be further consolidated and we will have similar resolutions adopted by parliaments of many other “allied” or “friendly” countries.

Downward Spiral In Us Ties Gains Added Momentum
October 12, 2007, Semih IDIZ

The obvious thing to do is to disregard the Armenian genocide bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday, since it is non-binding, and to also exercise extreme caution on the question of a cross-border operation into northern Iraq in order to weed out PKK terrorists, given the uncertainties involved. The Armenian resolution has also to be voted on in the House itself in order to be adopted. So the game is not over yet. As for an incursion into northern Iraq, the possibility that this will backfire on Turkey, politically if not militarily, is a real one. But it is also a fact that once agitated a country is capable of doing rash things. The United States is the best example of this given the way it went into Iraq, ostensibly to combat Islamic terrorism after Sept. 11 (and with quite a lot of public support one must add), only to find itself entrenched in what is increasingly becoming a nightmare for it. The Erdogan government is however under great pressure on both issues. If we look at the Armenian resolution first, the government is captive to its own rhetoric, having said time and time again at the highest levels that if this resolution is adopted Turkish-US relations will suffer seriously. Put another way, if the government is not seen by the public to be acting in line with this sentiment then what will be harmed, if not Turkish-U.S. relations, will be the government's own credibility and political support. This is something that the opposition, and all those forces that are against the AKP, would be more than happy to see of course, which is a fact that merely increases the pressure on Prime Minister Erdogan. This is why the statement by Representative Brad Sherman of California, who is an avid supporter of the Armenian resolution, to the effect that “(Washington) will get a few angry words out of Ankara for a few days, and then it's over” will, as far as the government is concerned, have to be proven wrong if it is not to be harmed politically. But, as pointed out above, the resolution has to be passed by the House of Representatives and is yet to be adopted, and it also remains to be seen if reason will prevail in the meantime in the U.S. Congress, although there is little reason to be optimistic over this.

As for the matter of a cross-border operation, it is clear that this has also become much more complicated now, since it is known that Washington is opposed to such a step. After recent PKK attacks the public is clamoring for something to be done and the government clearly has to take notice of this.

The image problem of the US:

The problem is that the U.S. is seen by the public, and by quite a few ranking military officials, as not only emboldening the PKK in northern Iraq, but also supplying it with arms after members of the terrorist group were caught with American weapons. In other words a cross-border operation has now taken on the added meaning of not only going after the PKK, but also “showing the Americans that Turkey will do what it will regardless of what Washington says,” especially since so few Turks see America as a friendly country anyway. This perception, which was increasing over the PKK issue anyway, has now taken a quantum leap forward with the Armenian resolution, and so the desire to see an incursion into northern Iraq has increased since such a step will represent an added act of defiance against America. There are of course Turkish officials who now believe that Washington will have less words of objection to such an operation by Turkey, in order to try and correct the situation that has arisen after this resolution, and in order not to endanger the broader interest. This of course remains to be seen, as does the steps that the Erdogan government will take in retaliation over the Armenian genocide resolution. All of this however puts a darker shroud of doubt over Washington's recently expressed desire to revive strategic relations with Turkey. In fact quite the opposite is happening and we appear only a few steps away from a free-fall in these relations. In short the downward spiral in Turkish-American relations has gained added momentum due to shortsighted politicians in Washington.

Aren't we really responsible for the U.S. decision on Armenians

Another development was the approval of the Armenian Genocide Project by the foreign affairs commission of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The same fight has been going on for years. Around this time each year, Armenians appeal to the American Congress. Turkey rebels and threatens and puts pressure on Washington. Then the U.S. administration stops Armenians.

Not this time, though.

This time, the Armenians caught such a favorable conjuncture that the Bush administration was unable to stop them.

I've written this before.

The approval of this project by the House of Representatives has no binding effect. Nevertheless, it will cost Turkey a great loss in prestige. Armenian genocide allegations will gain more credibility. Other parliaments that hadn't approved the project till now will be affected. They won't be able to stand the Armenian pressure.

So, who's to blame? Is it the Bush administration that made enormous efforts to stand by Turkey? Can it be the EU? No.

There are many reasons for this outcome, but we have the greatest responsibility. Armenians have been as industrious as bees for almost 50 years. They explain their point of view to the world and get it accepted.

What have we done? Almost nothing. Apart from a few books and a few conferences, Turkey did nothing. For years, we took refuge in the fact that ?We are NATO members. Nobody can harm us.? When that stopped working, we began blackmailing our friends.

We never launched an effective campaign to justify our side of the story. We even silenced the diverse voices among us. We even failed to stand up for our own Armenians.

We now have to bear the consequences of our own acts.

Come let's put first our own house in order in this issue, too. We can't leave the AKP holding the bill. Everybody has to chip in to pay this 50-year old expense.

Let's turn the page and make a new beginning. Let's stop blaming others and get down to work.

The translation of M.A.Birand's column is provided by Nuran Inanç, nuraninanc@gmail.com

Mehmet Ali Birand Let's put our own house in order first October 12, 2007

Missing Person Notices Bring Armenian Families Together
October 12, 2007, VERCIHAN ZIFLIOGLU

Turkey is preparing for an important event that symbolizes Turkish-Armenian solidarity even as the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress votes to pass a bill recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide. Some 600 missing person notices, which have been published in the daily Agos since 1996 as part of the ‘Looking for my Relative' project, will be hung on the Galata streets during the Galata Performance events on November 2. The notices will also be distributed in metro stations in Frankfurt, Paris and New York. Agos Daily's former editor-in-chief Hrant Dink, who was assassinated last January, continues to unite lost relatives. Under Dink's leadership since Agos' early years, the daily would post missing person notices every week. The aim was to bring together Armenians who had lost trace of their relatives after the devastation of the years following 1915 caused them to scatter around the world. The project was later expanded, and the number of the missing person notices reached 600. These days, Dink's project is still expanding under the leadership of eight young Armenians who, as volunteers, report to Agos' news editor Aris Nalci. The missing person notices will be placed on the streets around the Galata neighborhood while simultaneously being distributed in metro stations in Frankfurt, Paris and New York and documented on video. The aim is to bring lost families together without differentiating religion, race and language. The website www.akrabamiariyorum.com will also be prepared for the project.

English announcer broadcasts documentary on BBC Dink developed the project to unite lost relatives in the very first years of Agos. The concept of family was of great importance to Dink, who was brought up in a camp shelter. For Armenian society, which is known for keeping to itself as a minority community, this project was ambitious. Dink was criticized by Armenian as well as Turkish society for running certain news items and other attempts to unify people through his paper. However, the project started to succeed as people began seeking out their relatives. According to Nalci, until Dink's murder on January 19, more than 600 people had applied for Dink's project. Following his death, the number of the missing person notices increased. In most of these notices, Armenians are trying to find traces of their lost relatives. However, the project is not limited only to Armenians. Thanks to these notices, Fethiye Çetin found her family. In the context of the project, David Dickensson, a program announcer of Armenian origin living in the United Kingdom, also found traces of his family in Istanbul. Dickensson came to the Grand Bazaar, shot a documentary and broadcast it on the BBC. This documentary will be shown as part of the Galata Performance, Nalci said.

Names kept secret, people numbered

The paper and its team are taking the project to the United States. The notices have been translated into English. “Most of the lost people may not be living in Turkey at present; therefore we're trying to reach as many people as possible. Agos is only an agent. Our mission is to bring people together,” said Nalci. The names are kept secret. Each notice is numbered and Agos keeps the names on the applications secret. Turkey's most prominent dailies have also lent support to the project. “Our aim is not only to get Armenian families together. Hrant was a humanist person. We do not discriminate between Turkish, Kurdish and Laz people. We are seeking everyone who has lost touch with their families. This is a project one of love,” said Nalci. The letters sent to Agos over the years regarding lost relatives will also be included in the project. Their identities will also be kept private.The ‘Looking for my relative' project will be part of the Galata Performance, a parallel event to Biennial. “Agos reaches a limited group whereas the streets belong to all people. Our aim is to make the project meet the eye,” Nalci said. People should not look for ulterior motives behind this project, Nalci added. “We are trying to give voice to the silent mass who put up notices.”

Fethiye Çetin's ‘Anneannem'Hrant Dink's close friend and lawyer Fethiye Çetin found traces of her grandmother's lost sister and other relatives in the United States.

Learning that the actual name of her grandmother, who she knew as ‘Seher' since childhood, was actually ‘Heranus', Çetin went in search of her story. At that time, her beloved grandmother passed away. She put up her grandmother's death notice on Agos. The notice reached the target unexpectedly. Upon seeing the notice on Agos, lost relatives in the United States got in contact with Çetin. The traces of the relatives, whom Heranus was searching all her life, were found. However, the two sisters were never united.

Çetin wrote the story in a book named 'Anneannem' (My Grandmother) in 2004. Speaking about these issues in Turkey was a taboo before Agos, as people used to keep their past and identities secret, said Fethiye Çetin, who defines Dink as the man who shook taboos.

Prof. Dr. Aydin: Armenian Allegations Were First Put Forward In 1895, But Received No Support From Foreign Countries
ISTANBUL - "Armenian allegations were first put forward in 1895, but received no support from foreign countries," Prof. Dr. Mahir Aydin of the Istanbul University Department of History, said on Thursday.

In an interview with the A.A, Prof. Dr. Aydin said that he completed an article on "First Trial of the Scenario of Armenian Genocide" to be published by the Istanbul University.

"The Treaty of Berlin, which was signed in 1878, was aiming at dividing the Ottoman Empire. But Armenian community could not acquire its independence since its population was not sufficient. Britain put forward the idea of an imaginary Armenian state in Anatolia. Inspiring from Bulgarian and Greek uprisings, Armenian gangs launched intense acts of terror in Anatolia. Since the western states wanted to base the imaginary Armenian state on sound grounds, they told Armenians that if some of them were executed and some others were massacred, they could rush to their assistance on the ground that Turks committed genocide against them," he said.

"Consequently, Armenians rebelled to the Ottoman Empire in nearly 30 different places in Anatolia from the central cities of Ankara and Yozgat to the eastern city of Van, from the northern city of Trabzon to the southeastern city of Diyarbakir in 1895. Such a large-scale uprising could not be casual. It was a mass movement. Britain did not extend support to Armenian uprisings. But when Germany became dangerous in Europe, Britain had to pursue policies of France and Russia," he said.

Prof. Dr. Aydin kept on saying, "since France and Russia did not support Armenians, the United States started supporting Armenians' policy. The United States had already carrying out missionary activities since 1830s. Nearly 200 American missionaries opened schools in several places to make Gregorian Armenians Protestants. 6,448 Armenians died in the Armenian uprisings which were not supported by Britain. This number was personally put by the military official charged by the state."

"The U.S. House of Representatives prepared a resolution on January 31st, 1896 right after the Armenian uprisings in 1895. I found the original text of the resolution in the archives. The resolution says, 'let's elect a commission formed by Christians. This commission can choose a chairman to rule Turkey. Rule of Turkey should be taken away from Turks and the country should be divided into provinces. This new formation can be named as the United States of Turkey.' There is a message here. And it is that what happened in 1915 was nothing but a scenario," he said.

Prof. Dr. Aydin added, "the Ottoman Empire decided to relocate some Armenians in 1915. Britain took up the issue in 1916 since it suffered a heavy blow during the Canakkale Battles and failed to help Russia. Britain used Armenians once again. These allegations were put forward by using Armenians. Armenians migrated from Anatolia to the other countries including France and the United States. Allegations regarding the year of 1915 stemmed from the scenario of 1895. There were no one who could commit genocide against Armenians in Anatolia in 1915 because of the ongoing war. There were only elderly people, women and children..."


Likely Passage Of Armenian Genocide Resolution Reflects White House Weakness
Associated Press, October 11, 2007

WASHINGTON: For years Turkey has managed to prevent U.S. lawmakers from adopting resolutions declaring atrocities against Armenians more than 90 years ago. Now, at a time when the United States needs Turkey more than ever, supporters of the measure are on the verge of winning its passage.

The reason for the timing has to do with the current weakness of President George W. Bush, who opposed the measure, and the new power of Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, who have supported it.

It is now up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to decide whether and when to schedule a vote in the full House. She said Thursday the proposal would be brought to a vote this year.

Pelosi, who assumed the most powerful job in the House when her Democrats took power in January, comes from a voting district in California with a sizable Armenian population and publicly backed the measure long before she became leader of the House.

"I've been in Congress for 20 years, and for 20 years people have been saying the same thing" about the timing being bad, she said. Turkey was seen as having a strategic location during the Cold War as well as the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the current Iraq war.

"Why do it now? Because there's never a good time, and all of us in the Democratic leadership have supported" it, she said.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee cleared the way for a vote in the full House by approving the measure Wednesday.

At issue is the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by genocide scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated, and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest that killed Muslims as well as the overwhelmingly Christian Armenians.

Congress frequently passes similar nonbinding "sense of the Congress" resolutions, often on historical matters. Few provoke such angry responses abroad or as much lobbying in Washington as this measure.

The administration kept up the pressure on Thursday.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered House members a classified briefing to spell out what they called "national security interests" at stake. Top military leaders including Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, telephoned congressional offices to describe potential repercussions for passage.

In a letter, Gates and Rice reminded Pelosi, that Turkey canceled contracts with the French military after France's national assembly condemned the Turks' role in the Armenian deaths.

"A similar reaction by the elected government of Turkey to a House resolution could harm American troops in the field, constrain our ability to supply our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and significantly damage our efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey at a key turning point in their relations," Rice and Gates said in the letter reviewed by the Associated Press.

They urged Pelosi not to allow a vote on the resolution.

Turkey has been working for months to persuade lawmakers of that course of action. Ankara has hinted that it would even consider shutting down supply routes through Turkey to Iraq that are crucial to U.S. military operations.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman said the ambassador to Washington, Nabi Sensoy, was being recalled for consultations. Also, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson, was invited to the Foreign Ministry and was told by Turkish officials of their "unease" about the resolution.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was considering a list of possible responses to the United States that he could make public in coming days, according to a senior Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to talk about the issue.

When asked earlier if Turkey would shut down Incirlik, a strategic air base in Turkey used by the U.S. Air Force for operations in Iraq, Erdogan replied: "You don't talk about such things; you just do them."

The threats of such repercussions have caused the Bush administration to go all out to influence lawmakers and soothe the Turks. Senior officials have been warning for months against passage, and hours before Wednesday's vote, Rice, Gates and the president went before cameras to warn against passing the resolution.

But Bush, bogged down in Iraq and with approval ratings at home stuck at about 30 percent, has little political capital to spend.

Even after the administration's concerted anti-resolution drive, the committee voted 27-21 Wednesday in favor of the measure, which even included eight of the president's fellow Republicans in open defiance.

One of the committee members who said he was called by Bush is Puerto Rico's delegate, Luis Fortuno, who told Puerto Rican media on Thursday that he was surprised to hear Bush on his telephone. As a representative of the U.S. commonwealth, Fortuno has no vote on the House floor but can participate in committee votes.

"Usually, these calls are coordinated," Fortuno said, "but this was a call to my cell phone, and I take it. It was him, talking in Spanish; in other words, this is not the norm."

Reckless Resolution: A Turkish-Armenian Feud Has No Place In Congress
October 12, 2007, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The United States is in the regrettable position of having a 92-year-old problem, genocide waged against Armenians in 1915 in the old Ottoman Empire, creating a serious foreign policy and defense problem with Turkey today.

The source of the problem is the folly of the House Foreign Relations Committee, which voted 27-21 Wednesday to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning Turkey for the early-20th century massacre. It did so at the behest of some of the country's 385,000 Armenian Americans, who put pressure on the members who represent their districts.

There is no question that the 1915 genocide took place. It included ethnically and religiously based killing of civilians and was deplorable. At the same time it is important to look at historical context. The killing occurred in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, eight years before the Turkish Republic, of which modern Turkey is the embodiment, was established in 1923. Describing Armenian Americans lobbying for passage of the resolution as "Armenian genocide survivors" is a misuse of words: a person born in 1915 would be 92 now.

Here is what is at stake in 2007. The Turkish government has deemed the congressional resolution "unacceptable." Turkey, a NATO ally since the Korean War, permits the delivery of 70 percent of U.S. military air cargo and 30 percent of the fuel that goes into Iraq through its facilities. Virtually all of the new anti-mine armored vehicles transit Turkey. Also, Turkey rarely bluffs; last year it broke all military ties with France when the French parliament passed legislation making denial of the genocide a crime.

In addition, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after the holiday at the end of Ramadan, plans to ask his parliament to authorize a military incursion into the Kurdish region of Iraq, in response to the recent killing by Kurds there of Turkish soldiers and officials in Turkey.

The United States is asking Turkey not to take that action. The United States has consistently favored and protected Iraq's Kurds, starting in 1991 after the first Gulf War. American oil companies are now also seeking to take advantage of the absence of an Iraqi national oil law to sign contracts with the Kurdish regional government. Turkish military action in Kurdish Iraq would in general upset the U.S. apple cart in that part of the country.

Some anti-war Americans might think Turkey would help end the fighting in Iraq if it shut down deliveries of U.S. military equipment through its territory to Iraq. That is, however, entirely the wrong reason for passing the Armenia resolution.

Responsible congressional leadership should quietly but effectively shut down action on the resolution now. The administration of President Bush could then go to the Turks, point to that action, pledge to control the Kurds in Iraq who are attacking the Turks and ask Turkey to stay its hand rather than carry out cross-border attacks into northern Iraq.

The House committee's resolution on events in the Ottoman Empire 92 years ago is a clear case of the tail wagging the dog. It should not be allowed to occur.
October 12, 2007

Oct. 11, 2007
Q&A About Repercussions Over Turkish Genocide Resolution
A U.S. House committee this week endorsed a measure that declares the mass killings of Armenians by Turks almost a century ago to be genocide.

This has always been a hugely sensitive matter with the Turks, who insist that while many Armenians died in the hardships of the times, it is not correct to label it genocide.

Turkey has ordered its ambassador in Washington to return home for consultations, a sign of extreme diplomatic displeasure.

Why should we worry about how Turkey feels?

Because Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated his country may retaliate by shutting the flow of material to Iraq and even Afghanistan.

Declining to answer questions about whether Turkey might shut down Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, a major cargo hub, or the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, he said, “You don’t talk about such things, you just do them.”

About 70 percent of U.S. air cargo headed for Iraq transits Turkey, as does about one-third of the fuel used by the U.S. military in Iraq. U.S. bases also get water and other supplies by land from Turkish truckers.

Using the C-17 cargo planes out of Incirlik also avoids the use of Iraqi roads vulnerable to bomb attacks and helps reduce American casualties.

“We are concerned about that,” Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, acknowledged Thursday.

Any other cards the Turks can play?

If Turkey makes good on threats to cross the northern border in pursuit of Turkish Kurdish militants, Iraqi Kurdistan, a haven of relative calm, could suddenly become another Middle East fault line.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey since 1984. The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Turkey claims the rebels use Iraqi Kurdish territory as a safe haven. Iraqi and Kurdish authorities reject the claim.

“The violence that has been undertaken by the PKK is an enormous challenge, Petraeus said. “These terrorists … are up in the very, very high mountains that straddle the border there.”

While Washington calls the PKK a terrorist group, Turkey says the U.S. has done little.

Turkish warplanes and helicopters hit border positions this week, and Turkey’s parliament may vote next week to allow a large-scale offensive into northern Iraq.

Are there more than military and diplomatic concerns?

Iraq’s Kurdish region also is heavily dependent on trade with Turkey, which provides electricity and oil products. Annual trade at Habur gate, the main border crossing, is more than $10 billion.

What’s our history with Turkey?

Turkey is a longtime NATO member and played a huge role in the Cold War, sending troops to fight in Korea and providing the United States with military bases and listening posts on the former Soviet Union’s southern flank.

But relations hit a low in 2003, when Turkey’s parliament refused to allow U.S. forces use their country as a staging ground for the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

What’s the issue over the genocide?

Historians estimate up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by many scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Turkey, however, contends the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest, just like Muslims and other groups. But the Armenians, an ancient people in eastern Turkey, had always been seen as a potential “fifth column,” and suffered smaller, earlier massacres as well in the late 1800s.

The Turks deny any coordinated campaign, but Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador there at the time, vividly reported the systematic slaughter of Armenian men and family deportations.

“No one claims those were not horrible days,” said Egemen Bagis, a Turkish member of parliament who was in Washington this week.

Don’t the Turks have anything to lose in all this?

The leaders in Ankara know Turkey’s standing as a reliable ally of the West and its ambitions to be a mediator on the international stage are at risk.

Military ties with France were suspended last year over a bill to make it a crime to deny that genocide occurred against the Armenians.

Turkey has even more to lose with America, a major business partner with $11 billion in trade last year, and provider of much of its military’s equipment.

How does the White House view this?

The Bush administration, like the Clinton White House before, sees the measure as needlessly troublesome.

“We look forward to his (the ambassador’s) quick return and will continue to work to maintain strong U.S.-Turkish relations,” said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “We remain opposed to House Resolution 106 because of the grave harm it could bring to the national security of the United States.”

Ex-U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri is lobbying for the Turkish interests. Ex-Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas always was favorable to the Armenians.

“Why do it now? Because there’s never a good time and all of us in the Democratic leadership” supported it, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, indicating the measure, a nonbinding resolution without the force of law, will move ahead.
By Associated Press writers Christopher Torchia, C. Onur Ant and Suzan Fraser
© 2007 Kansas City Star

October 12, 2007, Inside the Turkish Psyche: Traumatic Issues Trouble a Nation’s Sense of Its Identity
BAGHDAD, Oct. 11 — To an outsider, the Turkish position on the issue of the Armenian genocide might seem confusing. If most of the rest of world argues that the Ottoman government tried to exterminate its Armenian population, why does Turkey disagree?

The answer is hidden deep inside the Turkish psyche, and to a large extent, printed on the pages of Turkish history books.

But with the changes to promote democracy in Turkey in recent years, opinions are slowly changing.

Turkey began as a nation just 84 years ago, assembled from the remains of the Ottoman Empire. Western powers were poised to divide it. The Treaty of Sèvres spelled that out in 1920. It was never ratified, but the intent remains deeply embedded on the minds of Turks, many of whom fear a repeat of that trauma.

To protect against encroaching powers, and to accomplish the Herculean task of forging a new state, Turkey’s founders, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, set ethnic and religious textures aside to create a new identity — the Turkish citizen.

The identity was needed to become something new but eclipsed the region’s cultural richness.

“In many ways, Turkey today is comprised of the remnants of the Ottomans,” said Ali Bayramoglu, a writer in Istanbul. “It hasn’t become a real society yet. It is not at peace with the diversity it has inherited from the Ottoman era.”

“The identity of a Turk was very much an engineered one in order to form a unified nation,” he added.

That identity was built on a painful foundation. Beyond the Armenian genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians in eastern Turkey were killed, there were mass deportations of Greeks and executions of Islamic leaders and Kurdish nationalists.

“The Turkish state and society both have traumatic pasts, and it’s not easy to face them,” said Ferhat Kentel, a sociologist at Bilgi University in Istanbul.

Mr. Kentel compared Turkey’s beginnings to a tenant who realizes that the house he has just rented is not new, but instead “has all kinds of rubbish and dirt underneath.”

“Would you shout it out loud at the risk of being shamed by your neighbors,” he asked “or try to hide it and deal with it as you keep living in your only home?”

The highly centralized Turkish state has chosen the latter. To do anything else would be to invite divisions and embolden independence-minded minorities, the thinking went. Textbooks talk little about the events that began in 1915, and they emphasize defensive action taken against Armenian rebels sympathetic to Russia, Turkey’s enemy at that time.

“The word ‘genocide,’ as cold as it is, causes a deep reaction in the Turkish society,” Mr. Kentel said. “Having been taught about its glorious and spotless past by the state rhetoric for decades, people feel that they could not have possibly done such a terrible thing.”

Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer and the author of a book about her family’s history, said it was not until she was 25 that she learned that her grandmother was an Armenian adopted by a Muslim family after being separated from her parents in 1915.

“We grew up, knowing nothing about our past,” said Ms. Cetin, who now helps represent the family of Hrant Dink, a Turkish newspaper editor of Armenian descent who was shot dead in January, at the trial of the teenager and suspected accomplices accused of the killing.

“It was not talked about in the family environment,” Ms. Cetin said. “It was not taught at schools and one day came when we suddenly faced facts telling that there has been an Armenian genocide on this land.”

But while the Turkish state has kept this history closed, a growing number of intellectuals and writers are working hard to open it. Changes carried out by the Turkish government to enter the European Union have also helped open debate in society.

A further step was taken by the current government this year when it called for a joint international commission to review the events, including opening up long-closed state archives.

Mr. Kentel participated in a conference this year on the subject that caused much tension and debate but brought the topic into the public realm. The event drew a few noisy protesters but the broader reaction was muted.

In a sign of just how far the Turkish state still has to go, in Istanbul on Thursday, a court convicted Mr. Dink’s son, now the editor of the newspaper Agos, and the paper’s publisher on charges of insulting Turkish identity for reprinting Hrant Dink’s comments about the genocide. Their sentences were suspended.

Measures like the genocide bill in the United States Congress serve only to complicate the work of those trying to open society, Ms. Cetin and Mr. Kentel said. It was not an honest attempt to heal, as lawmakers who supported it argued, they said, but a political statement issued to prove a point, which creates a highly charged, unfriendly atmosphere.

Bills on the Armenian genocide in foreign countries “make it even more difficult for people to simply talk,” Mr. Kentel said.

Ms. Cetin’s book, “My Grandmother,” was widely read, she said, because it appealed as an intimate human story, not a political statement. “Every change comes with its pain, and that’s what we’re going through right now,” she said.

Sabrina Tavernise reported from Baghdad, and Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul. Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Robert Fisk: A Reign Of Terror Which History Has Chosen To Neglect
12 October 2007
The story of the last century's first Holocaust – Winston Churchill used this very word about the Armenian genocide years before the Nazi murder of six million Jews – is well known, despite the refusal of modern-day Turkey to acknowledge the facts. Nor are the parallels with Nazi Germany's persecution of the Jews idle ones.

Turkey's reign of terror against the Armenian people was an attempt to destroy the Armenian race. While the Turks spoke publicly of the need to "resettle" their Armenian population – as the Germans were to speak later of the Jews of Europe – the true intentions of Enver Pasha's Committee of Union and Progress in Constantinople were quite clear.

On 15 September 1915, for example (and a carbon of this document exists), Talaat Pasha, the Turkish Interior minister, cabled an instruction to his prefect in Aleppo about what he should do with the tens of thousands of Armenians in his city. "You have already been informed that the government... has decided to destroy completely all the indicated persons living in Turkey... Their existence must be terminated, however tragic the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex, or to any scruples of conscience."

These words are almost identical to those used by Himmler to his SS killers in 1941.

Taner Akcam, a prominent – and extremely brave – Turkish scholar who has visited the Yerevan museum, has used original Ottoman Turkish documents to authenticate the act of genocide. Now under fierce attack for doing so from his own government, he discovered in Turkish archives that individual Turkish officers often wrote "doubles" of their mass death-sentence orders, telegrams sent at precisely the same time that asked their subordinates to ensure there was sufficient protection and food for the Armenians during their "resettlement". This weirdly parallels the bureaucracy of Nazi Germany, where officials were dispatching hundreds of thousands of Jews to the gas chambers while assuring International Red Cross officials in Geneva that they were being well cared for and well fed.

Ottoman Turkey's attempt to exterminate an entire Christian race in the Middle East – the Armenians, descended from the residents of ancient Urartu, became the first Christian nation when their king Drtad converted from paganism in AD301 – is a history of almost unrelieved horror at the hands of Turkish policemen and soldiers, and Kurdish tribesmen.

In 1915, Turkey claimed that its Armenian population was supporting Turkey's Christian enemies in Britain, France and Russia. Several historians – including Churchill, who was responsible for the doomed venture at Gallipoli – have asked whether the Turkish victory there did not give them the excuse to turn against the Christian Armenians of Asia Minor, a people of mixed Persian, Roman and Byzantine blood, with what Churchill called "merciless fury".

Armenian scholars have compiled a map of their people's persecution and deportation, a document that is as detailed as the maps of Europe that show the railway lines to Auschwitz and Treblinka; the Armenians of Erzerum, for example, were sent on their death march to Terjan and then to Erzinjan and on to Sivas province.

The men would be executed by firing squad or hacked to death with axes outside villages, the women and children then driven on into the desert to die of thirst or disease or exhaustion or gang-rape. In one mass grave I myself discovered on a hillside at Hurgada in present-day Syria, there were thousands of skeletons, mostly of young people – their teeth were perfect. I even found a 100-year-old Armenian woman who had escaped the slaughter there and identified the hillside for me.

There is debate in Yerevan today as to why the diaspora Armenians appear to care more about the genocide than the citizens of modern-day Armenia. Indeed, the Foreign minister of Armenia, Vardan Oskanian, actually told me that "days, weeks, even months go by" when he does not think of the genocide. One powerful argument put to me by an Armenian friend is that 70 years of Stalinism and official Soviet silence on the genocide deleted the historical memory in eastern Armenia – the present-day state of Armenia.

Another argument suggests that the survivors of western Armenia – in what is now Turkey – lost their families and lands and still seek acknowledgement and maybe even restitution, while eastern Armenians did not lose their lands.

October 12, 2007 Who Lost Turkey?
Turkey has been the strongest ally that the United States has had in the Middle East since the end of WW II. The Marshall Plan started with Northern tier states like Turkey and Greece. Turkey joined NATO and was a key player in the American victory in the Cold War. As a secular government, Turkey stood against the rising tide of Muslim radicalism. To the extent that Turkey is moderating its long-term secular militancy, and moving toward fair elections, it may be providing a model for a moderate, democratic Middle East. Its economy is growing rapidly, foreign investment is in the billions. Turkey is in short, almost everything the US could have asked for in the Middle East.

But the Bush administration has, during the past five years, increasingly thrown away this asset, and now is in danger of losing a close and valued ally altogether. It is unclear what US interests are served by this repeated and profound damage inflicted by Washington on Turkey, or what Ankara ever did to us that we are treating them so horribly. (The dismissive treatment in some ways began when the US promised Turkey $1 bn in aid to offset the damage to its economy of the Gulf War in 1990-1991, but then Congress formally decided by the mid-1990s to renege on the pledge. No one has ever explained why we stiffed them.)

The threat of a Turkish hot pursuit of PKK guerrillas into Iraqi Kurdistan is starting to have an effect on Kurdistan's economy and stability. Inflation is high and some Turkish businesses that had won bids to operate in the Kurdistan Regional Authority (KRG) are going back home in fear of trouble. Getting banks to underwrite economic enterprises is getting harder, which could result in a slowdown for Iraqi Kurdistan. This area was the last in Iraq not to be hit hard by instability, but tensions are growing.

Imagine what things look like from a Turkish point of view. Remember that Turkey is a NATO ally, that it stood with the US during the Korean War (in which its troops fought), during the Cold War, and during Bush's war on terror. Turkey gives the US military facilities, including the Incirlik Air Force base, through which large amounts of materiel for the US forces in northern Iraq flows.

First, the Bush administration insisted on invading Iraq and overthrowing the secular Iraqi government. It thereby let the Salafi Sunni and the Shiite fundamentalist genies out of the bottle and created vast instability on the southeastern border. It would be as though a US ally had invaded Mexico and inadvertently unleashed a Marxist peasant rebellion against San Diego. Secular Turkey already felt itself menaced by the Shiite ayatollahs of Iran and by the rising Salafi and al-Qaeda trends, and the US made everything far worse.

Then, the US gave the Kurdistan Regional Authority control over the Kirkuk police force and unleashed Kurdish troops on the Turkmen city of Tal Afar. (The Turks look on Iraq's 800,000 Turkmen as little brethren, over whom they feel protective, and don't want them dominated by Kurds).

The Kurds promptly announced their aspiration of annexing 3 further provinces, or at least big swathes of them, including the oil province of Kirkuk, and including substantial Turkmen populations. Not only was that guaranteed to cause violence with the Arabs and Turkmen, but it would give Kurdistan a source of fabulous wealth with which it could hope to attract Kurds in neighboring countries to join it, a la German Unification after the fall of the Berlin Wall - except that this unification would dismember several other countries.

Then the Kurdistan Regional Authority gave safe haven to 3,000 to 5,000 Kurdish guerrillas from eastern Anatolia in Turkey who have been killing Turks and blowing up things, reviving violence that had subsided in the early zeroes. Despite the US military occupation of Iraq, Washington has done nothing to stop what Turkey sees as terrorists from going over the border into Turkey and killing Turks. Turkish intelligence is convinced that the camps in Iraqi Kurdistan are key to weapons provision for the PKK, and that funding is coming from Kurdish small businessmen in Western Europe.

PKK guerrillas have just killed 13 Turkish troops on Sunday and in the past few weeks have killed 28 altogether. If guerrillas were raiding over the border into the United States and had killed 28 US troops I think I know what Washington's response would be.

The the US Congress abruptly condemned modern Kemalist Turkey for the Armenian genocide, committed by the Ottoman Empire, provoking Ankara to withdraw its ambassador from Washington. I have long held that Turkey should acknowledge the genocide, which killed hundreds of thousands and displaced more hundreds of thousands. The Turkish government could then point out that it was committed by a tyrannical and oppressive government-- the Ottoman Empire-- against which the Kemalists also fought a long and determined war to establish a modern republic. I can't understand Ankara's unwillingness to distance itself from a predecessor it doesn't even think well of--the junta of Enver Pasha and the later pusillanimity of the sultan (the capital is in Ankara and not Istanbul in part for this very reason!)

But no dispassionate observer could avoid the conclusion that the Congressional vote condemning Turkey came at a most inopportune time for US-Turkish diplomacy, at a time when Turks were already raw from watching the US upset all the apple carts in their neighborhood, unleash existential threats against them, cause the rise of Salafi radicalism next door, coddle terrorists killing them, coddle the separatist KRG, and strengthen the Shiite ayatollahs on their borders.

The Congressional vote came despite the discomfort of elements of the Israel lobby with recognizing the mass killing of Armenians as a genocide. Andrew E. Mathis explains Abraham Foxman's intellectually bankrupt vacillations on this issue. Foxman and others of his ideological orientation have been forced grudgingly to back off their genocide denial in the case of the Armenians by a general shift in opinion among the American public, and his change of position may have removed any fears among congressional representatives that the Israel lobby would punish them for their vote. (Turkey and Israel have long had a strong military and diplomatic relationship, which the Israel lobby had earlier attempted to preserve by lobbying congress on Turkey's behalf with regard to some issues. But the Israel lobby is now split between pro-Kurdish factions and pro-Turkish factions, and the pro-Kurdish ones appear to be winning out. Richard Perle & Michael Rubin of AEI are examples of the pro-Turkish Neoconservative strain in the Israel lobby. They are losing.)

In 2000, 56% of Turks reported in polls that they had a favorable view of the United States. In 2005 that statistic had fallen to 12%. I shudder to think what it is now.

posted by Juan Cole @ 10/12/2007 06:16:00 AM
At 8:40 AM, Anonymous said...

Sir I agree with most of your assesments on this issue. I am from Turkey and I lived in Usa for sometime so I have some real insights on certain issues like these ones. I personally believe that ignorance and arrogance of this goverment reached to highest levels thus causing all these problems with Turkey. First of all I believe that American goverment does not give a sh.t about either Turks or Armenians. For them it is just a matter of opportunity especially for those lobbiest. They could have been lobbying for anyone who pays the money.

In my country there is no hatred for Armenians. If you let people to connect they will find ways to connect and embrace eachother. But I tend to think that some in United States do not want that. Especially Armenian Diaspora. They cash in becasue. I wish that they would visit my country and see the good treatment they would get in Turkey. Trust me being a Turk in Turkey is worse than being an Armenian, Ggreek or American. Those who are minorities or foreigners would get the best treatment compared to ordinary Turks like us. So yes I wish I was an Armenian living in Turkey. Knowing that American goverment would back me up and the support I would get from American goverment would have given me good dreams until Americans find other minorities whom they can use againts friends or foes.

I urge Armenian people to give up trusting western goverments and come talk to Turkish people directly. It would be cheaper solution for you and for us.

Back to American goverment, This goverment consistently aggrevated animosity towards Turkey. They promised alot of things but they had done nothing. But we are the ones who sacrifice in the end. Everyone in Turkey asked Mr Bush to not to attack Iraq, but his arrogance made him blind so he did. Now You live thousands of miles away from Iraq. Countries like Turkey, Iran, Syria, Israel, Jordan etc will pay the consequences of this mess caused by arrogance and ignorace. The fact is that either Usa will leave Iraq or not, the issue bigger than Usa can handle. Thus now it is time for every country to look after for themselves. And That is what Turkey will do. They realized that nothing good will come out of American goverment. Even the most pro american goverment like Akp learned it the hard way. Their noses are bleeding from the lessons they learnt.
At 8:50 AM, Anonymous said...

The USA abstting the Turks, and the Saudis before them, is good for the region. The end of US presence is getting closer with each day.

Both countries needed the USA to protect them against the Soviets, and in the case of Turkey to help with a desperate economy. The USSR is gone, and the USA does not help economically. Being a menance and a supporter of the evil Israel makes the case against the USA ever more strong.

The Americans are flogging a stupid line: we will let down our allies in the Gulf region. The reality is that the USA is the most unreliable ally possible. In 1990, both the Americans and the British forces withdrew from Kuwait as Saddam's forces advanced despite having treaties with Kuwait. It served their interest to have him invade, and to hell with the Hajjis. Iran cannot hurt the Gulf states, they can now protect themselves, and Iran will be hit by the entire world who need the Gulf oil. A UN resoultion would be had in minutes.

The USA is not needed. Yanks go home! C'mon, get out.
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous said...

I don't know the details of all the things the US is alleged to have done to Turkey, but from what I've read, the Armenian issue is not quite as you have portrayed it here. The US vote, in the article you linked to, recognises the killings of Armenians (some say 1.5m, not a few hundred thousand) as genocide. It does not condemn the current Turkish people or government for this. It is the Turkish government and some Turks who don't want to accept their country's involvement. Many of today's problems have been caused by turning a blind eye to misdemeanors (or worse) of our "friends". The US certainly did this with Iraq in a big way in the seventies and eighties. Perhaps one day we'll be prepared to deny the Holocaust because a future friend gets upset about it.
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous said...

maybe i am missing something, but what business is it of the usa's to be condemning anybody for anything these days ? and for genocide ? exactly what is the usa doing in Iraq ? committing genocide in order to steal Iraq's Oil.

the hypocrisy makes me want to puke.

and doesn't the usa congress have nothing else better to occupy its time ? foreclosures have doubled since last year, the economy is swirling down the crapper, the usa is stuck in two qwagmires, threatening a third, etc etc and the usa congress wastes its time ( and usa taxpayer dollars ) with this ??

excuse me, but WTF !?!?!
At 12:32 PM, Anonymous said...

What is worse than denying genocide is quietly discarding some of the facts. I never tire of telling people that it wasn’t just Jews that were killed at the hands of the Nazis: Gypsies, homosexuals, communists and anyone else who did not conform to the Nazi idea of ‘perfection’ perished by their hundreds of thousands too.

Now I’ll have to start reminding people that it wasn’t only the Turks that did the killing, in fact the foot soldiers were more than often Kurds and that it wasn’t only the Armenians that got killed in the process: Assyrians and others perished too.

Modern Kurdish chauvinists don’t like drawing attention to the Kurdish complicity in the first genocide in the 20th century lest it draws attention to some of the ethnic cleansing done by the two Kurdish family-run fiefdoms collectively known as the KRG today.
At 1:07 PM, eurofrank said...

Dear Professor Cole

It looks like you might have to add
The Return of the Horsetails
to your reading list. It was recommended as the best introduction to modern Turkish society.

Perhaps then people wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

We are starting to hear stories of people talking about neo-Ottomanism and the Russians selling the Turks Nuclear Power stations.

The turkish Military are seriously divided about whether to buy US Patriot misiles, or the Russian S-400

Best of Breed

SACEUR will not be happy.
At 1:19 PM, Anonymous said...

Prof. Cole:

Have you stopped posting on US casualties in Iraq? Or has there been a dramatic downturn recently in US deaths?

I always thought your constant humane reminder that this is a very serious war mixed with your analysis was the strongest and most useful part of this blog. Has something changed?
At 1:25 PM, The Great Salami said...

Prof Cole, why can you suddenly be critical to Bush for one of the few things done in his time that were ever right and proper?
1,000,000 Armenian Christians were killed by all Ottoman peoples, those who make up what is now 'kurdistan' and 'syria' and 'georgia' etc all had their hands in it too!
We know that the Armenians were slain as a policy, not as some pogrom by thousands of angry barbarians, this was done by the Sultans Army, and aided by the Sultans subjects.

Would you bat an eyelid if congress passed a bill once more condeming the shoah?
Sadly there are even jews that wont say that what was done to Armenians was a holocaust because then that would de-ioslate their history and would couple it with the idea that holocausts occur more regularly that a 'civilised' man should believe.
Will the Iraqis say that their experience of the last 20 years has been anything less than a shoah.

Recognigtion for any of mans crimes against man is always a good thing, and only the un-enlightened, the guilty would get angry about it.

I expected more from you Prof Cole.

Informed Comment, Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion
Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute, http://www.juancole.com

U.S. Seeks Damage Control As Congress Passes Genocide Bill
October 12, 2007
House Speaker Pelosi may bring pro-Armenian measure to floor vote any time next week


President George W. Bush's administration urged Turkey to refrain from acts of radical retaliation following the approval of a resolution calling for formal American recognition of World War I-era Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, by a U.S. panel, late Wednesday. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives voted 27 to 21 in favor of the measure, rejecting a plea by Bush and his top aides to stop the bill.

Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates separately warned only hours before the vote that the resolution's passage would greatly harm U.S. national interests in the Middle East, including America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the Republican administration's calls had little effect on many of the panel's Democratic members who do not agree with Bush's Iraq and Middle Eastpolicies.

Under Secretary of State Nick Burns said the administration was "deeply sorry" about the vote, but that he hoped Turkey, "one of our most important global allies," would not take radical measures, while speaking to the Turkish Daily News shortly after the vote.

"We hope that [the Turkish government] can stop short of any initiative that could hurt the U.S.-Turkish relationship," he said.

U.S. security woes

Gates said Turkey was of strategic importance to the United States, particularly in Iraq. The bulk of supplies for U.S. troops in that country pass through Turkey's Incirlik air base. U.S. officials are concerned over probable Turkish moves to curb such and other support.

Burns said the Bush administration in recent days had made a major effort to convince the panel's members to vote against the resolution and that despite itsfailure to reach that objective, it would continue to fight against the bill's passage in a House floor vote.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, backs the Armenian genocide resolution, and may bring the measure to a floor vote any time as of next week,congressional sources and diplomats said. The bill is presently cosponsored by 225 lawmakers, more than half of the members in the 435-seat lower chamber of Congress.

Although the House resolution is non-binding and will reflect "the sense of Congress" if approved in a floor vote, Turkey fears that U.S. Armenians will seek to use it as a framework to push for further legislation and court cases calling for reparations, including even territorial demands.

"Those who voted for this resolution don't care about the interests of the United States, Turkey or Armenia, but are playing petty domestic politics," said Egemen Bagis, a top official from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party and a member of a three-men parliamentary team lobbying against the bill here since Monday.

Turkey's disappointment

He and Turkey's ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy voiced the country's disappointment over the bill's passage in the panel, but vowed to continue efforts to prevent a floor vote.

The Turks were particularly dismayed by Tom Lantos, the panel's Democratic chairman and the only Holocaust survivor in the U.S. Congress, who voted for the resolution despite Ankara's expectations that he would decline to do so.

Sources here said Israel had been lobbying against the resolution's passage and that Turkish diplomats and officials were baffled by Lantos' vote. The veteran politician is one of Israel's strongest supporters in Washington.

After what Ankara perceived as a negative change in the position of Jewish groups on Armenian genocide claims, top Turkish officials warned that the resolution'sapproval in a House floor vote could adversely affect Turkish-Israeli relations.

U.S. Armenian groups here were overjoyed by the bill's passage in the House panel.

Reflecting her sympathy for the Armenian cause, Pelosi introduced the Supreme Patriarch of all Armenians, Karekin II, to deliver the morning prayerWednesday. "With the solemn burden of history, we remember the victims of the genocide of the Armenians," Karekin said in the House.

Karekin visited the House building for a second time after the panel's vote, saying the committee's move "corrected" what happened 90 years ago.

"The Foreign Affairs Committee's adoption today of the Armenian genocide resolution represents a meaningful step toward reclaiming our right, as Americans, to speak openly and honestly about the first genocide of the 20th century," said Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

"This is a historic day and a critically important step forward on this issue," said Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America. "I am grateful for the support of members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who resisted efforts by the administration to pressure them into voting a certain way.

US Congress Destroys US - Turkey Relationship
Oct 11th, 2007 by Michael van der Galiën
The US Congress has minutes ago destroyed the relationship between the US and Turkey. This relationship was quite good for years, but has grown worse after the US invaded Iraq and the PKK gained in strength in the northern part of that country. Now, US Congress has delivered what was left of the relationship the final blow: a House penal has approved the resolution calling what happened to Ottoman Armenian during World War I a genocide.

The panel “defied warnings by President Bush with 27-21 approval Wednesday to send the measure to the full House for a vote.” President Bush will now try to convince the Democratic leadership in the House “not to schedule a vote,” but predictions are that he’ll lose that battle as well and that the full House will accept the resolution, just like the panel did.

As a result, Turkey has asked its ambassador to the US to come home for “consultation.” For now it seems that Turkey hasn’t withdrawn him yet. “We are not withdrawing our ambassador. We have asked him to come to Turkey for some consultations,” spokesman Levent Bilman said. Turkish President Abdullah Gül responded with great anger to the decision of the panel: “Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States have once again sacrificed important matters to petty domestic politics despite all calls to commonsense,” Gül said. He added: “This unacceptable decision by the committee, like its predecessors, has no validity or respectability for the Turkish nation.”

Bush didn’t want the panel to send the resolution to the full House, because he feared (and fears) that it’ll do great damage to the relationship between Turkey and the US. The US is increasingly dependent on Turkey. Not only is Turkey a Nato ally closest to where the action takes place these days, it’s also one of the most important and powerful Muslim countries. Of all the Muslim countries in the world, the US can’t afford to insult this particular one.

If the House accepts the resolution - and I’m sure it will - the US has a major problem. Not only may trade problems occur, not only will anti-Americanism in Turkey increase, not only will Turks boycott American products and businesses, Turkey is also likely to move closer to the East and to distance itself a bit from the West. This at a time that the West needs Turkey in the war against radical Islam. More, it also makes it increasingly likely that Turkey will act against the PKK without asking the US for permission or even informing the US about the operation.

Those are the political implications of this decision. The Democrats who are in charge of the US House and Congress seem to be more busy lobbying and voting for bills that are firstly irrelevant, and secondly counterproductive, than to actually change US policies - either domestically or in the Middle East - in a meaningful way.

I’m not sure what the Democrats hope to accomplish with this, but I’m with Bush on this one: let historians do research, let everybody open up the archives, and historians decide on this matter, not politicians.

H/t Holly.

Again with thanks to Holly, the Washington Post adds:

IT’S EASY to dismiss a nonbinding congressional resolution accusing Turkey of “genocide” against Armenians during World War I as frivolous. Though the subject is a serious one — more than 1 million Armenians may have died at the hands of the Young Turk regime between 1915 and the early 1920s — House Democrats pushing for a declaration on the subject have petty and parochial interests. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chief sponsor, says he has more than 70,000 ethnic Armenians in his Los Angeles district. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has promised to bring the measure to a vote on the House floor, has important Armenian American campaign contributors. How many House members can be expected to carefully weigh Mr. Schiff’s one-sided “findings” about long-ago events in Anatolia?

The problem is that any congressional action will be taken in deadly earnest by Turkey’s powerful nationalist politicians and therefore by its government, which is already struggling to resist a tidal wave of anti-Americanism in the country. Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, called President Bush on Friday to warn against the resolution. Turkish politicians are predicting that responses to passage by the House could include denial of U.S. access to Turkey’s Incirlik air base, a key staging point for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Turkish parliament could also throw off longstanding U.S. constraints and mandate an invasion of northern Iraq to attack Kurdish separatists there, something that could destabilize the only region of Iraq that is currently peaceful.

The WaPo editorial adds: “Turkish writers and intellectuals are pushing for a change in attitude, and formal and informal talks between Turks and Armenians are making slow progress. A resolution by Congress would probably torpedo rather than help such efforts. Given that reality, and the high risk to vital U.S. security interests, the Armenian genocide resolution cannot be called frivolous. In fact, its passage would be dangerous and grossly irresponsible.”

Yes, US Congress is making a major mistake. And… it’s not about principles. If it was, the US would look at its crimes against humanity first - for instance the way the US dealt with Native Americans. This isn’t about principles.


Central Sanity adds that Turkey not only asked its ambassador to come back for 10 days or so, Turks have also protested against the American decision today. The leftist Workers’ Party weighed in: “The U.S. once more showed that it is not our strategic ally but an enemy.” It is therefore that they “called for the closing of the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, which American troops use to supply the military in central Iraq.”

The foreign minister: “The committee’s approval of this resolution was an irresponsible move which, at a greatly sensitive time, will make relations with a friend and ally” more difficult he said.

Prime Minster Erdogan, “speaking on CNN Turk television station on Wednesday, refused to say immediately what effect the resolution might have on the Incirlik base.”

Politically a stupid move. Whether one believes it was a genocide or not is irrelevant to the question whether or not it was wise for the Democrats to persue this condemnation. Silly and unwise beyond words. Not only does this make Turkey’s relationship with the US more problematic, it’s also not good for the relationship between the West in general and Turkey. Pelosi once again shows that she does have a foreign policy agenda, one that’s completely different from that of America’s president.

57 Responses to “US Congress Destroys US - Turkey Relationship”
on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:06 pm
1 Alan

I agree, a foolish move by the US Congress, even though I used to know people who had lived and suffered through the Armenian Genocide, and could recount numerous tales of systematic horror firsthand.

It’s a good thing these Congressmen are not making these same statements in Turkey, though, or they would be arrested for “Insulting Turkishness”. Sadly, that is not a joke, however much it sounds like one, but is a real and punishable crime in Turkey.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:08 pm
2 Michael van der Galiën

Trueand that has to change, I agree. Doesn’t make the resolution any politically wiser though.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:17 pm
3 Alan

What was the sudden motivation for this resolution? It seems like extremely odd timing.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:33 pm
4 Michael van der Galiën

reelection of a democrat from an area with many armenians.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:45 pm
5 Dan Schneider

Michael: Sometimes realpolitik must give way to reality.

The genocide happened. Period. You are in the same league with Holocaust Deniers on this one. Granted, to be fair, the Congress should also condemn the U.S. for the Middle Passage and Native American genocides we caused, but when you type, ‘reelection of a democrat from an area with many armenians,’ [is silly].

Note by MvdG: comment has been edited. No personal insults / questioning my good faith allowed.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:51 pm
6 wj

Several things are at work here:
- There are, as Michael notes, Congressional districts with lots of Armenian-descended voters. But none with visible numbers of Turkish-descended voters.
- The most prominent voice arguing against it in the US belongs to a President who has little or no credibility with the Congress. Nor with a majority of the voting population. In short, there’s nobody with credibility pointing out why this is a stupid move.
- One of the arguments being made against passing such a resolution is that bases in Turkey are important to the war effort in Iraq. And the Congress is controlled by people who want to do whatever they can (without political backlash) to defeat that war effort. Which makes that argument self-defeating.
- Even more than with most legislation, actual examination of facts is almost unheardof for these Sense of Congress resolutions. So what actually happened, and whether it was genocide or merely deplorable, is irrelevant to virtually all of the votes which will be cast.

One can only hope that a similar resolution doesn’t get passed by the Senate as well.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:54 pm
7 Michael van der Galiën

umh no Dan, it’s true. that’s why it has been pushed through. this isn’t about principles, it’s about a democratic wanting to get reelected.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:56 pm
8 Dan Schneider

WJ: there has been voluminous research in th epast few decades. The Genocide happened. The fact that Turkey is an ally should not interfere with that, unless they want to align themselves w the Islamists, who condone genocide.

As I stated, we should also condemn our own past, and also resolve to declare Russia. China, and Japan guilty of Genocides, as well.

In a sense, it is pointless, except that it makes clear that there is no nation, great or small, that has no ’shit on their stick,’ as my dad would say.

Also, this then makes it far easier for many of the African nations to come out of the ‘closet’ and admit their past wrongs, for if big nations like the US, Russia, China, and Japan, can admit their sins, so can they.

Likewise, if Turkey wants to be considered a modern and civilized nation, it too should ‘fess up.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:57 pm
9 Dan Schneider

‘umh no Dan, it’s true. that’s why it has been pushed through. this isn’t about principles, it’s about a democratic wanting to get reelected.’

The provenance of an act, and its rectitude, are not the same thing.

Is it a good thing? Yes.

Often good results from bad intentions, and vice versa.

But, denying the past is NEVER good- ask Santayana!

on 11 Oct 2007 at 8:59 pm
10 Dan Schneider

Just imagine if a Right Wing German gov’t took hold, and denied the Holocaust. Wd you say a similar act by Congress was bad, if that meant alienating Germany against another foe?

Get real.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:01 pm
11 Michael van der Galiën

See the update. And the situation is quite different. The Armenians have lobbied hard to make it equal to the Jewish holocaust but it’s not the same. Turkey has to deal with its history, and with it mistakes and crimes, but this resolution is ridiculous and incredibly bad timed.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:32 pm
12 Dan Schneider

The only difference the updates make is that yuo agree with me that we should fess up as well.

But, the rectitude of the declaration has nothing to do with what it states.

Michael, it is the same as the Holocaust. The Holocaust is not something outside of history. It is part of a drearily depressing pattern where the people in power oppress those not, to the point of murder.

It is the same, just the names and means change.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:35 pm
13 Interested

Those are the political implications of this decision. The Democrats who are in charge of the US House and Congress seem to be more busy lobbying and voting for bills that are firstly irrelevant, and secondly counterproductive, than to actually change US policies - either domestically or in the Middle East - in a meaningful way.

WJ put it correctly re his point 3.

Turkey has to deal with its history, and with it mistakes and crimes, but this resolution is ridiculous and incredibly bad timed.

True, and reeks of politics. We are a nation that can supposedly puff our chests out with pride and call this what it is - yet at the same time not recognize Taiwan as an independent nation for fear of pissing off China? Why this all of a sudden but not Japan, Russia, and ourselves.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:36 pm
14 Michael van der Galiën

Well one difference is that Jews in Europe didn’t revolt against the Christian Germans and tried to help the Russians take over did they?

And no, the Armenians didn’t ‘have it coming,’ but the situation is quite different.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:40 pm
15 Michael van der Galiën

Interested: although some would say “you’ve got to start somewhere” that reasoning doesn’t hold up in this case. The reason for this resolution is very very very simple, and everybody even the WaPo admits it: it’s purely a matter of votes. That ’sponsor’ of the bill can get some 90,000 votes for this one thing. it’s important for him and also for pelosi who also has quite some Armenians in her district. it’s all about petty partisan politics. Not about principles.

People blame Bush fro placing party above country, the democrats do the same in this thing.

And… if you don’t know how Turks will react, americans will see what they can be like in the coming days and weeks. Expect US businesses to suffer tremendously and the US tohave big problems in Iraq.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:42 pm
16 Dan Schneider

Michael- that the Armenians were warring w Turks, after centuries of brutal repression in the Ottoman Empire, is not news, nor is it justification for marching tens of thousands of women and children into the sea, under threat of being shot. That’s brutal mass murder and genocide. Period.

Do you even realize how Mengelean your justification is? The same justifications were at the heart of Nazi ideology- see the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, not to mention the Czar in his pogroms.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:43 pm
17 Dan Schneider

‘People blame Bush fro placing party above country, the democrats do the same in this thing.’

Yes, a non-binding resolution equates with the invasion of a nation, and the devastation of a region.


on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:44 pm
18 Michael van der Galiën

After centuries of brutal repression???? You do realize that that’s not true right? And - there’s more needed to say something was genocide or not than “many died.” The intention has to be there. And it’s up to historians to decide about that, not some Democrats who want to get reelected and who don’t care about the situation in the near and middle east!

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:48 pm
19 Michael van der Galiën

The Armenians turned against the Ottoman Turks because they thought they’d get more benefits from the Russians because the Russians were Christians. That’s what happened Dan. Then the Turks responded. Before that it were the Armenians who started killing Muslims hoping that the Russians would take over.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:54 pm
20 Michael van der Galiën

One thing that has to be pointed out: this debate isn’t as simple as some seem to think. Another things; it’s simply politically stupid right now for a variety of reasons. The WaPo sums them up quite well.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:58 pm
21 Michael van der Galiën

O, and Dan. One of your comments has been edited. No ad hominems please. A question for you: where have I ever denied that it was a genocide? I’ve said that much remains unclear and that killing many people doesn’t necessarily constitute genocide, yes, but where have I literally denied it?

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:58 pm
22 wj

OK, Dan, maybe we should go back to the beginning. What, exactly, are you using as a definition of “genocide”? Because, as we have seen with “torture,” if you revise the definition of a word sufficiently it can apply, or not apply, to an amazing variety of events.

For myself, I completely agree that lots of Armenians were killed. And that it was done in a nasty way. And was unnecessary. All of which are bad. And none of which automatically justifies the label of “genocide” — at least as I understand the term. They may be characteristics commonly seen in cases of genocide, but genocide can happen with or without most of them.

Once we agree what constitutes genocide, it will be much easier to decide if what happened to the Armenians fit the definition. Or whether calling it genocide is merely an attempt to gain shock-value from a label.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 9:59 pm
23 Richard

The fact is there has never been a good time for this resolution and there never will. This or similar resolutions have been proposed for many years. The last time it got this far was in 2000 when a similar resolution was approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee and sent to the House. The Republican House Leader, Dennis Hastert, who had promised to put it to a vote in the House, yielded to a last minute phone call from President Clinton on the basis of national security and dropped the resolution from the voting list.

Many other countries have passed this tyoe of legislation (Canada, France, Russia, Argentina, etc.) and their economic relations with Turkey have not suffered. In fact France’s trade with Turkey has significantly increased.
Turkey will act in its own best interest and its best interest is not to alienate the USA and the EU.

Earlier this year the House passed another resolution condemning the refusal of modern Japan to acknowledge, apologize and compensate the thousands of “comfort women” kept as sex slaves by Imperial Japan prior to and during WW2. Japan strenuously objected to this resolution but after it passed they did not close or limit any American military bases, curtail diplomatic or trade relations, or threaten its Korean minority.

There are a few survivors of the Armenian Genocide - now in their late nineties or over a hundred years old. Waiting for a better time is not an option for them.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:01 pm
24 Michael van der Galiën

WJ: well said.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:02 pm
25 Dan Schneider

Blame me for resorting to Wikipedia, but even those folk acknowledge that Armenians suffered not only the Ottomans, but many other groups: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenia

So, do I believe you, or many historians?

Intention: when one is given a choice between death by bullet or drowning, there is intent. That is murder- singular or mass.

And again, you are avoiding whether or not the action is ethically right. You are still providing cover for genocide. Until that sort of realpolitk reasoning stops, genocide never will.

And, again, even the Wiki article disputes your claims. If even they can get the genocide right, so shd you. The Turks were to blame. Get over it. Just as white men were to blame for African slavery in America, just as Germans were to blame for the Holocaust, and Commies for the Gulag Archipelago and horrors of Maos regime, and the Militarists in japan also did a good job at mass murder, killing more than the Nazis, but drowned in the sea of Chinese.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:04 pm
26 Dan Schneider


Main Entry: geno·cide
Pronunciation: ‘je-n&-”sId
Function: noun
: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group

It fits.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:06 pm
27 Dan Schneider


‘There are a few survivors of the Armenian Genocide - now in their late nineties or over a hundred years old. Waiting for a better time is not an option for them.’

Exactly. Or we can basically say their lives and losses meant nothing, esp. compared to Turkish trade.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:07 pm
28 Interested

how dare someone call the Dem’s out for making a political move such as this is.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:07 pm
29 Michael van der Galiën

Dan: you see there too that until around 1900 they didn’t have problems. They were autonimous. I’m sorry but you simply don’t know enough about the Ottoman Empire or how it worked. You seem to think that the Ottomans persecuted everyone who wasn’t Muslim. That’s not true. The opposite actually. Around 1900 Turkish Muslims were upset because Christians were granted so many privileges due to Western pressure. They were the ones with money and property, the Muslim population was poor. They had to accept the Moslims as their rulers, yes, but they lived according to their own traditions and customs.

I’m sorry, but you pretend that life was hell for them during the rule of the Ottoman Empire while that was quite simply not the case, especially not for the time.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:08 pm
30 Michael van der Galiën

No Dan it’s not so easy and again your comment only illustrates that you lack knowledge in this regard. Just reading wikipedia doesn’t quite cut it. Do you actually know anything about the Ottoman Empire or what?

Interested: exactly.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:13 pm
31 Chris

It sounds like the government of Turkey is the one with the problem, not the United States.

Michael, you should be mad at Turkey for not coming to grips with their own history.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:14 pm
32 Richard


Plenty of Republicans have supported this and similar resolutions now and in the past. Most notably President Reagan, Bob Dole and George W. Bush while running for office.

This issue cannot be reduced to political posturing. Armenian voters only have weight in Southern California and the geographic distribution of those members of Congress supporting the resolution is vast.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:15 pm
33 phin

Not only may trade problems occur, not only will anti-Americanism in Turkey increase, not only will Turks boycott American products and businesses, Turkey is also likely to move closer to the East and to distance itself a bit from the West. This at a time that the West needs Turkey in the war against radical Islam. More, it also makes it increasingly likely that Turkey will act against the PKK without asking the US for permission or even informing the US about the operation.

I see the tendency towards gross melodrama and over exaggeration that is so prevalent in the Mediterranean and even more markedly amongst Middle Eastern countries has rubbed off on you.

Given the Turks predictably hysterical reaction, one thought comes to mind: Thou dost protest too much.

A few points:

First, where to the “East” does Turkey have to go, pray tell? To the swamps of the Muslim Arab world. I think you overestimate the affections the Arabs feel towards the Turks. Perhaps you meant the Khomeini Iranians instead or Putin’s neo-Stalinist Russia. Or perhaps they can fantasize some more about the great Pan-Turkic dream of uniting all the Turkish people. Except of course that the other Turkic nations have their own problems and are not interested. Turkey has been so successful precisely because it has been running, nay sprinting towards the West. It’s not the West that should worry about alienating the Turks, but the Turks who should worry about alienating the West. Period. We should not dumb down our values, our beliefs, our history merely to placate the bruised emotions and egos of a still relatively immature and fragile people, at least with regards to their own past.

Second, it’s not the West that is primarily fighting a war over “radical Islam”, rather this is an internal Muslim civil war that has spilled out into the West. We are, for the most part, a proxy for the so-called “moderate” Muslims. After all, it is Muslims themselves, both in the West and in the Muslim world (including Turkey) that have the most to lose should the radical Islamists prevail over the so-called moderates.

Third, should Turkey really alienate the US, the Turks may face the prospect of a defacto US alliance with the Kurds, given the enormous stakes that the US has placed in Iraq. The Kurds are already some of the fiercest pro-American people in the region, besides the Israelis. You stated the antipathy the Turks feel towards the US. All I have to say is be careful what you wish for. If the US backs off of Turkey, the Turks lose their greatest ally with regards to Europe and Sarkozy’s position, already enormously popular amongst EU populations in general, becomes further strengthened. BTW, I forget, what has been investing more in Turkey the past couple of years? The West or the East? Just curious…

And finally, the Turks, if they ever want to move forward have got to come to terms with their own past, the good parts and the bad. Acknowledging the bad in no way diminishes all the good, of which the Turks have plenty to be proud of.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:16 pm
34 Michael van der Galiën

Chris: I encourage them to do so and think that they should conduct some historical research to find out what happened and by orders of whom. They should also get rid of art. 301 as I’ve stated before. But this resolution is stupid, not in America’s and not in the West’s interest, and it’s not up to politicians to decide upon this matter but up to historians.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:17 pm
35 Dan Schneider

Oh God! Michael, you are now cherrypicking, rather than looking at the whole history.

‘You seem to think that the Ottomans persecuted everyone who wasn’t Muslim. That’s not true.’

Show me where I said or even implied that.

‘They were the once with money and property, the Muslim population was poor. They had to accept the Moslims as their rulers, yes, but they lived according to their own traditions and customs.’

Again, even the online links dispute that. But, put that aside, and look at how many times you’ve used the very memes that Nazis used against Jews- they were enemiees of the state conspiring- when it was relatively few nationalist Armenians- God forbid they want autonomy. You point out that they were an elite group- like Jews or intellectuals in Cambodia, or the bourgeosie in Commie states.

Your whole line of reasoning is enough to make Stalin get a hardon. Blame the victim 101. I remember an old Chinese woman growing up, who told me how the Japanese used almost verbatim rationales in their conquest of Manchuria, when she was a child.

Really, step back and look at your whole dialectic approach. It’s mindboggling.

And, no, I used the Wikipedia link as a source- a LCD source. The point being if even THEY could get it right, so shd you. It’s simply not disputable, just as your neighbors, the Belgians cannot deny the Congolese dead under King Leopold.

Read books, or just stay online, and look up far more credible sources than Wiki, and unless you think there’s a vast anti-Turkic conspiracy, accept reality, and this small salve for those who were butchered.

Otherwise, there’s little difference between you and the Holocaust Deniers, or the Left Wing Academics in America who alibied for Stalin. Not pretty co. to keep.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:20 pm
36 Richard

Actually, Michael, massacres of Armenians began in the 1890s, when some 200,000 were killed by the Hamadye at the instigation of Sultan Abdul Hamid. Then in 1907 some 30,000 Armenians were massacred in Adana.

The Genocide began in 1915 when the Young Turks decided to eliminate the Armenian population.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:25 pm
37 wj

OK, Dan, lets work from the definition you give:
- Do we have a “racial, political, or cultural group”? Yes. No question.
- Do we have a “deliberate and systematic destruction” of that group? If there is evidence that there was a policy of destruction (such as there was of Nazi policy towards the Jews), I haven’t seen it. Admittedly, I haven’t made an exhaustive study of the topic; just saying that I haven’t seen evidence of a policy of destruction on the part of the government.

If I was creating a definition, I would also include a caveat that, if one group acts as a group to attack another, the attacked group’s response can be called “genocide” only if they spread their counter-attack substantially (not just somewhat, but substantially) beyond the apparent bounds of the group making the first attack. But since I asked for your definition, I think it only right that I deal strictly with the definition you gave. Fair?

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:25 pm
38 John Rohan

I also discussed this on my blog here.

I agree that the timing is bad (with the war going on and Turkey making attacks into Kurdistan now), but this is something that Turkey needs to acknowledge. On the one hand, they are trying to convince the world that they are a modern progressive nation ready to join the EU, but on the other they refuse to do any real self-reflection on this issue.

I also disagree that it will “destroy” the US - Turkey relationship. It might not pass through Congress, and in any case, several European nations have passed similar measures without destroying their relationship with Turkey. Of course, Turkey made threats and complained loudly in each case, but every time they figured out that they need West much more than the West needs Turkey.

Also, I’m not sure how it really matters whether the Armenians were oppressed before the genocide or not. Jews certainly weren’t - overall, they lived just fine in Germany until the 1930s.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:27 pm
39 Chris

Of course, Turkey made threats and complained loudly in each case, but every time they figured out that they need West much more than the West needs Turkey.

That’s pretty much all that needs to be said on this issue, in my opinion.

on 11 Oct 2007 at 10:51 pm
40 Michael van der Galiën

Ah, phin, you’re back?

on 11 Oct 2007 at 11:17 pm
41 Tully

Whether one believes it was a genocide or not is irrelevant to the question whether or not it was wise for the Democrats to persue this condemnation.

Just my quick take. Your mileages may vary–considerably.

Fact: It was undoubtedly genocide, or ethnic cleansing, or whatever you care to call it. The Armenians were scapegoated, their property confiscated, they were herded up, confined, and any who survived the labor battalions and camps and disease and starvation were systematically slaughtered. Men, women, children.

For our foreign relations with Turkey, the timing is really bleeping stupid.

In the domestic political scene, the timing is good for the sponsors, who have sizable Armenian-American populations (who make sizable political donations) in their districts. Said ethnic populations are not notably left-liberal, but “Blue Dog” moderate.

Something tells me that point #3 is immensely more important than #1 and #2 in the Democrat’s insistence on pushing the gesture now, rather than later. The issue has waited most of a century. The US government condemend it while it was happening, and the US provided massive aid to the Armenians who fled.

A few more points: The bill itself (H. RES. 106) in its description of the events contains some language and dating that appears deliberately designed to anger and indict the current Turkish government, and that is at best questionable as to factuality. It takes as a given the highest possible estimate of the number killed, and even more significantly claims the genocide dated 1914-1923, though the Armenian genocide is well established as having been from 1914-1918.

That dating is significant. Trials of the leaders and command officers responsible for the systematic massacres were held in Istanbul in 1918-1919, and most were sentenced to death in absentia. Why the extra five years there?

Possible answer: The current Turkish government was established in 1923. By dating official American recognition of the genocide as extending until the founding of the modern Turkish government, the survivors and their descendants may well become enabled under existing law (both domestic and international) to pursue legal action against same for damages. Even though the current Turkish government did not exist at the time.

I don’t know that this is the reason for the dating, but yeah, I can see more than one reason that the Turks are upset at this “mere declaration.” It assigns the current government of Turkey as having been a party the genocide. It wasn’t.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 12:00 am
42 Dan Schneider

wj: ‘Do we have a “deliberate and systematic destruction” of that group? If there is evidence that there was a policy of destruction (such as there was of Nazi policy towards the Jews), I haven’t seen it. Admittedly, I haven’t made an exhaustive study of the topic; just saying that I haven’t seen evidence of a policy of destruction on the part of the government.’

That a single group was eliminated with deliberation defines genocide. What you want is a smoking gun- some document that says, let’s kill all those SOBs. Is there one, I don’t know, nor do I care. The dead are still dead. That’s a very thin defense.


Oh, there it goes.

John: I agree that there will never be a good time: ‘Turkey is our ally against the Soviets, the Islamists, and in 20 years against some new enemy. More BS. As for the Jews being ok in Germany. Were they systematically slaughtered? No, unlike in Czarist Russia, or by Lenin. But, they were certainly 2nd class citizens.

Tully does sneak in a good point. Modern Turkey can distance itself from the genocide because they were under different rule then. The US, unfortunately, has to take total blame for the way we killed Indians and blacks.

That is also indisputable. Because when one starts talking definitional minutia, it’s not a grand leap to total denial. In fact, this is one of the reasons I have always thought that the claim of Six Million dead Jews is politically unwise. a) Even non-Nazis can point to there barely being 6 million Jews in non-Russian Europe. b) it tacitly values Jewish dead over the Poles, Russians, gays, Gypsies, etc.

There will always be ‘bad times’ not to discuss this or that atrocity, but that does not make not talking about them right- in any sense.

Again, people who do that are no better than Holocaust Deniers, or Stalinist apologists. Not companions anyone wants to keep.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 12:28 am
43 in2thefray

Michael. Why is so hard for Turkey t face a part of it’s history ? More importantly why should this resolution bother the Turks ? Lastly as much as Turkey has and can be a strong friend I can’t accept any nation telling us how to observe our sovereignty. My worldview is consistent though. If the Turks want to go PKK hunting so be it.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 12:34 am
44 Nihat

Tully does indeed sneak in a good point. But, one thing you’re missing is, that provocative dating is not a recent invention snuck into this resolution for a change, just to anger modern Turkey a bit more this time around. There is a whole literature about it. This is of course no excuse for Turkish government to be totalistic in response.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 12:41 am
45 Nihat

in2thefray, I totally sympathize with “I can’t accept any nation telling us how to observe our sovereignty.” I think, President Gul’s remarks about American domestic politics lying behind all this were unfortunate.

As for whether this is a question of facing up to one’s history or not, I submit that it is not. I have no appetitite to try to convert anyone though.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 2:12 am
46 An Irresponsible Act « The Van Der Galiën Gazette

[…] 12th, 2007 by Marc Schulman In this post, I don’t rehash Michael’s excellent criticism of the House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution on the Armenian genocide. Rather than covering […]

on 12 Oct 2007 at 2:21 am
47 AMERICAN FUTURE » Blog Archive » The Armenian Genocide Vote

[…] Michael van der Galiën provides an excellent overview and analysis of the House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution on the Armenian genocide. In this post, I add some thoughts to his. […]

on 12 Oct 2007 at 4:33 am
48 Mike C.

Michael: Sometimes realpolitik must give way to reality.

The genocide happened. Period.

You’re wrong. Unlike the Holocaust, there is little evidence that causing the deaths of so many Armenians was the actual intent of the central government of Turkey and those deaths had to be caused intentionally for them to be considered collectively a genocide under international law.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 5:42 am
49 volkan

guys, you seem to take “being in good terms with your own past” as one of the measures for being western or modern, or whatever you call it…

can any of you please tell me which “modern states”, apart from the war defeated and back-then american ruled Germans officially acknowledge their historical mistakes? I read few people talking about the american indians, blacks etc etc… Now why the hell does US, allegedly a modern state, not recognize its past deeds, and forces other states to do it? Or even present deeds in Iraq… The same goes for UK (pretty much half the world), France (Algeria and rwanda to mention few), Spain (during reconquesta, or in South america)… Netherlands, Belgium, Italy…
Now, why do you expect the turks to be more western than these allegedly modern western states?
Stop playing the role of the noble heroes of the world.

Regardless of whatever happened in Anatolia in 1910s, I find it rather irrelevant and absurd for a state like France or US to make claims about it, who were among the major catalysts for the huge scale massacres in the first place…

Now, couple other things…
about the academic study of the history…
right now, all the turkish/ottoman archives are open for study (i guess this is a necessity for being “modern”), whereas we do not see the same sincerity from the armenian side, whose archieves are still locked.
about turkish american relations… I believe it is rather foolish to compare the previous times when similar bills were approved in other countries. The extent that the turkish-american relations are strained right now, is not comparable to any of those cases, mostly because of the kurdish rebels in northern iraq, against which US did not do anything for the past yyears, is and being held responsible by the turks…

Unfortunatelly i dont have the link for this but i read it from an online paper today:
A German Marshall Fund poll released last month found that Turkish “warmth” toward the U.S. on a 100-point “thermometer” scale had dropped from 28 degrees in 2004 and 20 degrees in 2006 to 11 in 2007.
In short, there is a difference between being a snobbish western state (see Canada, France etc.) or an irrelevant trade partner (Argentina, Uruguay, Lebanon) and claiming to be an ally (US); just like there is a difference between being humiliated and being stabbed behind your back by your friend - which is the common perception about US behaviour in turkey at the moment.

You should also remember that the Italians, when they tried to shelter the former head of PKK were forced to back from it, merely because of the huge trade boycott against the italian products that slashed their sales in turkey.
Lastly, someone was telling that calling the massacres “genocide” is a crime in Turkey…. it is true… Well how about Armenia and France, where telling that there wasnt a genocide is a crime, then? Neither of these make sense, since there has not been enough discussion to reach the best approximation to truth… but dont just pick the turkish side of the problem, just because you happen to be persuaded that there was a genocide.

well, there is more to say but i should return to my paper…

on 12 Oct 2007 at 6:07 am
50 phin

Ah, phin, you’re back?

Never left :). Though I may disagree with you from time to time, this is still one of the best and more honest blogs around.

That dating is significant. Trials of the leaders and command officers responsible for the systematic massacres were held in Istanbul in 1918-1919, and most were sentenced to death in absentia. Why the extra five years there?

Possible answer: The current Turkish government was established in 1923. By dating official American recognition of the genocide as extending until the founding of the modern Turkish government, the survivors and their descendants may well become enabled under existing law (both domestic and international) to pursue legal action against same for damages. Even though the current Turkish government did not exist at the time.

Tully, that’s an excellent point. I think the dating does matter very much. It’s one thing to hold the Ottomans responsible, it’s another thing altogether to pin the blame on the Turkish Republic, which did not even exist at the time. It makes it seem like a form of moral extortion. Acknowledge the genocide yes, but also bear in mind that the Turks of today are *not* amd/or should *not* be responsible for historical events, however horrible, that occurred almost a century ago under a previous regime. I suspect that one of the reasons for the Turks’ reluctance is precisely this fear of being held to account for the actions of their ancestors. I sympathize with the Armenian view, but again, I don’t think it’s right to hold modern Turks responsible. I don’t know if that makes any sense but there you have it…

on 12 Oct 2007 at 6:33 am
51 phin

I read few people talking about the american indians, blacks etc etc… Now why the hell does US, allegedly a modern state, not recognize its past deeds, and forces other states to do it? Or even present deeds in Iraq… The same goes for UK (pretty much half the world), France (Algeria and rwanda to mention few), Spain (during reconquesta, or in South america)… Netherlands, Belgium, Italy…

I suggest you review the modern histories of most Western states then, cause I don’t know what “histories” you’ve been reading, but in academia today, in most Western countries, the prevailing narrative is one of Western guilt, self-flagellation and self-loathing, deserved or not. In other words, not only are *we* (as in Western man) responsible somehow for all of our own past misdeeds (while almost completely ignoring the contributions of foreign actors), but *we* are also responsible for almost everything that has gone wrong in the rest of the world. This is the kind of history that I studied in school, about 6-7 years ago in university. I may be exaggerating a bit, but not by much. We obviously need a better more honest balance where the good that we have done is given fairer treatment and the bad is better placed within its proper context. But that being said, in our study of our past, there is also a healthy degree of self-criticism and self-reflection that allows us to hopefully learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat them. That’s the point. Honesty with one’s past and one’s self is always better and healthier in the long term, regardeless of what “outsiders” may think or not.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 6:55 am
52 volkan

only if the practice of self-criticism among the elite made the world a better place… believe it or not, there is a lot of debate going on about the labeling of the massacres in Turkey, especially in the universities and despite restricting laws…

Yet by officially recognizing, i dont mean the good spirited discussions among fellow colleagues within the fences of a university…

What i’m asking is: did the congress pass a bill about the killings of American Indians? Napalm bombs dropped in Vietnam? American military intervention in Nicaragua? (im just referring to US to keep it focused)…

If no, then maybe people should start from somewhere else, and leave the issue about armenians between armenians and the turks in the first place..

on 12 Oct 2007 at 7:24 am
53 Nihat


“Lastly, someone was telling that calling the massacres “genocide” is a crime in Turkey…. it is true…”

I think that is not true, but a popular myth propagated by half-informed news agencies/reporters. My understanding is that all relevant prosecutions –leading to a conviction, acquittal, or dismissal of the case– have come under the infamous Penal Code Article 301, which makes no reference to Armenian genocide (unlike the French law). Alas some people may tend to stretch the “insulting Turkishness” clause of that article to cover genocide claims; rather, they may be motivated by the offense they take from these claims, and seek prosecution under this article if and when they can (they have to find something else to go by).

The best-known such case/conviction was that against the slain journalist Hrant Dink. Dink had been claiming it was a genocide for long, and yet his conviction came about thru a trial about some ambigious statements he wrote in a series of articles addressed to Armenian diaspora. I don’t want to paraphrase him incorrectly here, but they were not statements declaring the events as genocide; he was more like urging the diaspora activists to stop poisoning themselves (their blood!) by their animosity towards Turks. His words were taken by Kerincsiz group as suggesting Turkish blood was poisonous, and they took him to court under 301. The court raporteur found no offense in the articles Dink wrote; I believe the state prosecutor asked for the case to be dismissed, too. Yet the court convicted him.

I am just a Turkish peasant living in the US; I cannot reach all pertinent documents on any given matter; and, I may be partially wrong in the preceding account. But one has to show me the law and/or documents establishing unambigious precedent, in order for me to be convinced that it is a crime in Turkey to merely say what happened to Armenians was genocide. There are many others who say that, and are still free! Historian Halil Berktay for example. I bet he is majorly hated by activist attorneys, and can be prosecuted anytime should he make a mistake in how he says things. But that hasn’t happened yet.

Here is a very detailed Radikal article (in Turkish) about the Dink case.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 7:54 am
54 volkan

Nihat, now that you put it in this way, i am inclined to agree with you. I dont think that there is a specific reference to the “genocide” in the laws, either.

However, this does not mean that it is a subject of free discussion. There is some truth in the general argument that labeling the massacres genocide can be a reason for punishment, especially given the vagueness of 301.


on 12 Oct 2007 at 7:58 am
55 phin

What i’m asking is: did the congress pass a bill about the killings of American Indians? Napalm bombs dropped in Vietnam? American military intervention in Nicaragua? (im just referring to US to keep it focused)…

Honestly, I don’t know enough about US Congressional history to properly answer that question. My gut instinct would tell me no, at least for historical events that have happened within the very recent past. I do know that it takes a couple of decades (50 years maybe) before all the records are released so that a fuller picture can emerge. I know in my country of Canada, we have acknowledged, to an extent our role in the “displacement” of native peoples from their “lands”. The government has given them, over the course of many years, substantial subsidies, lands and federal exemptions and funds for “compensation”. I *do* recognize our role in those events. But I also find it absurd that present day Canadians should be held to account for actions committed hundreds of years ago, but you know “liberal” guilt and all that. By the same token, I would be opposed in principle to holding modern Turks responsible for the actions of a faction of the Ottoman government for events that occurred close to 100 years ago. That doesn’t mean that the Armenian Genocide did not occur however or that modern Turks should continue to deny its existence.

If no, then maybe people should start from somewhere else, and leave the issue about armenians between armenians and the turks in the first place..

Good point. But that said, that hasn’t seem to have moved the issue forward very much over the years. After all, it is still a crime in Turkey to even talk about the matter, insulting “Turkishness” and all that nonsense…Perhaps public shamings, while extremely unfortunate, are the only concrete ways that can perhaps move the issue forward.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 8:17 am
56 Nihat

Volkan, I had read about the recent conviction of Dink’s son. But again, the news articles about it –most, if not all, originating from an AP report– seem to be propagating the myth: Hrant Dink was prosecuted/convicted for saying it was a genocide; now, so are his son and another journalist…

My point was, there is an important distinction between the Turkish situation and the French law explicitly criminalizing denial of genocide. I am not saying, one is better than the other, or they are comparable phenomena. French law deserves criticism on its own merit; and I think it’s a very bad law. On the other hand, in Turkey, 301 and/or the mere atmosphere of declaring unpatriotic/treasonous most dissenting opinions are terrible. You’re right it’s not a subject for free/easy discussion.

“After all, it is still a crime in Turkey to even talk about the matter”

No, Phin, it’s not a crime. I’m being legalistic about the term “crime” though; not saying you’re safe to say anything about it.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 8:34 am
57 phin

No, Phin, it’s not a crime. I’m being legalistic about the term “crime” though; not saying you’re safe to say anything about it.

I humbly stand corrected and defer to your expertise then. Let’s just say that it’s not the most conducive environment to an open and honest discussion then.

French law deserves criticism on its own merit;

Call it what it is, a completely idiotic law as are all “Genocide denial” laws. The answer is not less speech but more speech for all to see and judge on their merits or lack thereof. It is the mark of an insecure and immature society or at the least, their elites. But then again, we are talking about EUcrats…business as usual then, one stupidity after another.

An Irresponsible Act Oct 12th, 2007 by Marc Schulman

In this post, I don’t rehash Michael’s excellent criticism of the House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution on the Armenian genocide. Rather than covering the same ground, I offer some brief thoughts of what the passage of the resolution says about the Democratic party.

For years, the Democrats have argued that the Bush administration has been diplomatically inept, the result of which has been injurious to America’s national interests. For the reasons Michael proffers, it is very probable that the resolution will hurt our relations with both the Turkish government and the Turkish people. The best that can be hoped for is that no permanent damage will be done. By no stretch of the imagination will this ill-conceived resolution benefit the national interest.

On this evening’s PBS NewsHour, Committee Chairman Lantos said the resolution will serve to begin the restoration of America’s moral authority, which he and other Democrats maintain has been squandered by the Bush administration. Don’t hold your breath waiting for words of praise from other governments. Why would they put their relationships with the Turks at risk by endorsing the resolution?

As Michael points out, Turkey is a key supply line to our troops in Iraq. Should the Turkish government react in a manner that clogs the supply line, our soldiers and marines would be placed in greater risk and the likelihood of a favorable outcome to the Iraq war will be diminished. Surely, the Democrats must have considered just such possibilities. But those possibilities were trumped by (trumped-up?) moral outrage over events that took place almost a hundred years ago.

If this resolution is an indicator of the nature of the foreign policy that a Democratic administration would pursue, I’ve found another reason to vote Republican (hopefully, for Giuliani) in next year’s presidential election.

7 Responses to “An Irresponsible Act”
on 12 Oct 2007 at 2:46 am

You are entirely correct. This is just one example of Dems ineptitude. But there are as many examples of Republican ineptitude of late, although they both display their stupidity in different ways. May I just say I am completely sick of them both in the past several years. As a resident of the DC area, to quote The Joker, “this town needs an enema.” We need a new party, we’re in a terrible rut here.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 4:09 am
2 marc moore

If I had to guess I’d say that this is a uniquely short-sighted attempt to undercut the war in Iraq. If so, it’s truly pathetic to sacrifice a relationship with a strong ally for so little purpose.

What else could it be? I doubt Dems have any special insight into the Armenian issue.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 4:19 am
3 Marc Schulman

Marc — As I indirectly suggested in my post, I have the same suspicion.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 5:11 am
4 Tom

I’ve found another reason to vote Republican (hopefully, for Giuliani) in next year’s presidential election

Like you need another reason.

f I had to guess I’d say that this is a uniquely short-sighted attempt to undercut the war in Iraq…What else could it be?

Could be for a good reason of course, because they’re Democrats.

Just look at me, I’m headed off to take a course sponsored by Ahmedinijiad on how to build EFPs with common household items. Our guest lecturer is supposed to be Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 5:21 am
5 Kevin Sullivan

I think you make a good point, Marc.

It seems as if the New New Left in America is really concerned with genocide…retroactively.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 8:04 am
6 Michael van der Galiën

On this evening’s PBS NewsHour, Committee Chairman Lantos said the resolution will serve to begin the restoration of America’s moral authority, which he and other Democrats maintain has been squandered by the Bush administration.

LMAO! hahahaha. Yeah - that’s how you restore your moral authority: by ignoring your own sins and only pointing out what others have done wrong.

God they’re stupid.

on 12 Oct 2007 at 9:35 am
7 More on the US Congress’ “Armenian Genocide” Resolution « The Van Der Galiën Gazette

[…] Schulman posted about the resolution a few hours ago (after my original post). This post is a response to his post. Not because I disagree with him - we […]

More on the US Congress’ “Armenian Genocide” Resolution Oct 12th, 2007 by Michael van der Galiën

Marc Schulman posted about the resolution a few hours ago (after my original post). This post is a response to his post. Not because I disagree with him - we obviously agree - but because I think it’s important to point something out. Marc writes: “On this evening’s PBS NewsHour, Committee Chairman Lantos said the resolution will serve to begin the restoration of America’s moral authority, which he and other Democrats maintain has been squandered by the Bush administration.”

That’s absolutely laughable. I would put it more nicely if I could but I can’t. It’s one big joke. Lantos seems to think that he can ‘restore’ America’s ‘moral authority’ by condemning others while ignoring the bloody past of the US itself. That’s not how you ‘restore’ America’s ‘moral authority.’ If he wanted to do that, he should call for a resolution labeling the treatment and masskillings of Native Americans ‘genocide.’ Instead, he chose to play politics by satisfying the 90,000 Armenian voters in the district of a fellow Democrat.

The Van Der Galiën Gazette, http://mvdg.wordpress.com

Pelosi Holds The Key To Armenian Resolution TNA Ankara, 11 October 2007

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds the key to the fate of a U.S. congressional resolution that recognizes the attacks on Armenians at the turn of last century as and act of genocide.

If she allows the resolution for a vote it is a foregone conclusion that U.S. representatives will approve it. But she can stall it or even shelve it.

Experts say the bill would not have even reached the Committee of Foreign Relations stage if Pelosi had opposed it. But since then things have changed and pressure from Turkey and all other quarters may force Pelosi to think twice.

Pelosi who is at odds with the White House on a wide range of issues topped with Iraq is apparently in no mood to listen to appeals from the White House on this resolution.

But some Jewish groups as well as some Democrats close to Turkey may help Pelosi see the other side of the coin.

What is clear is that the strong Armenian lobby managed to convince Pelosi to support the resolution and will also be pushing her to keep her promises.


As the Congress prepared to act on the bill Turkey was making a last ditch effort in Washington to convince U.S. lawmakers to reject the resolution.

The House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee planned a vote late Wednesday on the measure that is opposed by the Bush administration.

On Tuesday, President Abdullah Gul warned of "serious troubles in the two countries' relations" if the measure is approved.

In Washington, Turkish members of parliament made their case on the genocide resolution in meetings with members of the committee that will consider the genocide resolution.

"I have been trying to warn the lawmakers not to make a historic mistake," said Egemen Bagis, the Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party and a close foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A measure of the potential problem came in a warning the U.S. Embassy in Ankara issued Tuesday to U.S. citizens in Turkey, a key NATO ally.

"If, despite the administration's concerted efforts against this resolution, it passes committee and makes its way to the floor of the House for debate and a possible vote, there could be a reaction in the form of demonstrations and other manifestations of anti-Americanism throughout Turkey," the statement said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Dan Fried qualified the resolution as "a mistake", saying that President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as well as other officials from the administration personally contacted members of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the House of Representatives.

"We are against the bill and we are working for it not to pass. We think that the bill is a mistake and there is nothing good the bill can produce," Fried told the Anatolian News Agency.

"I hope that this bill will be rejected at the committee meeting and I hope that Turkish-Armenian relations strongly improves for the better, Fried said.

The basic dispute involves the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey from 1915-17, an event which the Armenians claim was an act of genocide.

Turkey refuses to call it genocide, saying the death toll has been inflated, and insisting that the Armenians killed were victims of civil war and unrest as the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire collapsed before the birth of modern Turkey in 1923. Turkey has called for a conference of scholars to study the Ottoman archives and decide if the events amounted to genocide. Armenia has rejected this.


Armenian-American interest groups also have been rallying supporters in the large diaspora community to pressure lawmakers to make sure that a successful committee vote leads to consideration by the full House.

The bill seemed to have enough support on the committee for passage, but the majority was slight and some backers said they feared that Turkish pressure would narrow it further. Most Republicans were expected to vote against the resolution.

On Tuesday, Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, sought to shore up support in letters to the committee's chairman, Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos of California and its ranking Republican member, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

"We have a unique opportunity in this Congress, while there are still survivors of the Armenian Genocide living among us, to irrevocably and unequivocally reaffirm this fact of history," he said.

The head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholics Karekin II, was to give the opening invocation to the House's session ahead of the committee vote Wednesday.

Supporters of the measure have been trying to counteract Turkish threats with arguments that Turkish-American relations were too important to Turkey for the Erdogan government to scuttle.


But Turkey's warnings were underscored by its movement toward an incursion into Iraq, which should it occur could seriously upset U.S. efforts to stabilize the country.

Bagis said the resolution would make it hard for his government to continue close cooperation with the United States and resist calls from the public to go after the Kurdish militants rebels who have mounted deadly attacks on Turkish soldiers in recent weeks.

Turkey has previously said it would prefer that the United States and its Iraqi Kurd allies in northern Iraq crack down on the PKK.

"If the Armenian genocide resolution passes, then I think that the possibility of a cross-border operation is very high," said Ihsan Dagi, a professor of International Relations at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

The United States reiterated on Tuesday its warnings against an incursion.

"If they have a problem, they need to work together to resolve it, and I'm not sure that unilateral incursions are the way to go," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Many in the United States also fear that a public backlash in Turkey could lead to restrictions on crucial supply routes through Turkey to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the closure of Incirlik, a strategic air base in Turkey used by the U.S. Air Force.

Bagis, a member of the Turkish Parliament, underscored that possibility.

"Let us not forget that 75 percent of all supplies to your troops in Iraq go through Turkey," he said.

After France voted last year to make it a crime to deny the killings were genocide, the Turkish government ended its military ties with that country.

In related development Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan warned that the passage of the resolution could harm Turkey's relations with Israel.

"If things go wrong in Washington, besides Turkish-American relations, at certain points Turkish-Israeli relations will be affected as well," Babacan told Israeli daily Jerusalem Post during his recent visit to the country.

Babacan also recalled that Turkey had offered to set up a joint commission of Turkish and Armenian historians to study the incidents of 1915.

"This issue cannot be decided by 'yes' or 'no' votes of the parliamentarians and no parliament can write the history by mere political decisions," Babacan said.

Putting Ourselves In The Other Man’s Shoes On The ‘Armenian Question’
What a fascinating but equally unrewarding subject to write on the “Armenian question” is. Everything you say will touch the sensitive nerves and deep-seated emotions of both the Turks and the Armenians.

Neither side will be content with your line of thinking. It is dangerous water into which few people are willing to wade.

Apparently, from the feedback I received in regards to my Oct. 3 op-ed, “How to close the Armenian dossier with a win-win formula,” it appears that bridging the wide gap in the perceptions of “truth” between most Turks and Armenians remains an uphill struggle and will not be an easy task to accomplish for at least two generations. However, I am convinced that the sooner we begin such a process of rapprochement, the better. Otherwise we will continue to live in a constant state of hostility and mistrust, blaming one another and showing no tolerance for those who attempt to show the other side of the story and strive for a historic reconciliation.

With these thoughts in mind and as part of my efforts to contribute to a better understanding of each other side’s thoughts, feelings and “truths,” let me share below, without attribution, as promised, some excerpts from the letters I received from several Armenian readers:

* Your article will be read by Armenians as a threat, and they will not respond by kowtowing. This may not have been your aim, but that is how it will be taken. Unfortunately I used to think the gap could be filled, and I no longer do. I advocated normalization in the 1990s, and have totally given up on it.

Believe me, Armenians -- with a few notable exceptions -- are not a very vindictive people. In my fathers’ papers are the Ottoman deeds to homes in Arapgir, “Polis,” and Izmir. “Justice” would require homelessness for several families living on the plots of land there -- is it “justice” then?

Turkey is too worried about reparations to think through things clearly. I have a home in California; life has compensated us materially. Survivors’ heirs live mostly in wonderful countries like the US, Canada, France, Australia and the like, enjoy high levels of education, and have been able to preserve the identity if not all of its aspects. And there is an Armenian state with the language and the religion preserved as well, all and all, it is not bad.

It is hard to understand how a country of 73 million and a landmass the size of Texas can see itself as a victim -- especially after its imperial history and maltreatment of subject communities. Victim of what: a few self-defense irregulars? The accusation of counter-genocide is not admissible, nor is the accusation of Armenian support for Russia. My family had aghas in service of the Sultan and remained deeply anti-nationalistic until the genocide.

Let us be clear about this, the Ottomans massacred their citizens. Is Turkey the Ottoman Empire? There are only two answers to this question; each has implications that have to be addressed.

* You demand that the reasons for Turkish measures be removed first, before Turkey takes any step towards normalization. In other words, you ask to drop and give away all assets on the mere hope of Turkish good intentions, which were tried, tested and measured in 1909, 1914, 1921 and ... 1942, 1991 (no need to state the details, since you must be well aware of them). You claim that Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide may entail other demands. This sounds to me like a borrower saying, “Yes, I owe you, but if I admit it, I may have to pay you.” The criminal, not his son or grandson, has to pay for his crimes. I would like to believe that Humanity abandoned that approach a long time ago.

You resort, in your denial of the genocide, to Ottoman, German and other states’ archives. May I remind you that Ottoman courts, the Bundestag, State department archives and even Mustafa Kemal Ataturk confirmed that fact? What are these archives you mention?

You also refer to the deaths of 157 (according to the first account by Baku authorities) civilians in Khodjaly. Sir, this number may be incorrect. Still, its circumstances can in no way be matched to the Pogroms committed earlier in Baku and Sumgait.

More importantly, I would have urged you to return to the statements given by the then-president of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ayaz Mutalibov, about the true responsibility for the events of Khodjaly, but I am sure that a person with your status and resources must already be aware of them. This leads me to conclude that you choose to ignore them, which in turn brings me back to the very first point, namely, “good intentions?”

* What we want from Turkey is not money or land -- we do not need them. We do need access and we do need recognition, however, because these two things are the guarantee that the evil of 1915 is truly in the past -- otherwise, it will be Russian or Iranian troops, defense treaties, lobbying in the US and elsewhere, and continuous suspicion.

I really cannot understand how Turkey can, on the one hand, dismiss Armenia as unworthy of diplomatic relation yet expect it to participate in a historical commission on demand. The days of Middle East-type bully tactics are gone but not necessarily in Turkey today. To think Turkey is aspiring to join the EU, it just does not add up yet. Hopefully matters will improve as Turkey continues to align with Europe.

Without the pressure generated by the Armenian diaspora Turkey had no incentive to examine the treatment of Armenians. Even now it resists every step of the way. Internal legislation within Turkey reveals the Turkish mindset regarding self-examination. Any concession so far on this matter has been a reaction to events rather than a sincere or genuine interest in the truth.

Constant attempts to paint the Armenian experience at the hands of Turks as being the same as that of the Turks at the hands of Armenians do the Turks no credit. The fact is that what occurred was an attempt to exterminate the Armenians in “Turkish” lands. This was the intention, whether you call it genocide or not. Turkey undoubtedly carries a far greater burden as a result of the events of 1915. Also telling is the fact that 3,000 years of Armenian presence in Anatolia is constantly censored from the historical narrative.

* Internationally, a greater regard is given to the position of Armenia and its unconditional call for diplomatic relations with Turkey. I think Turkey will eventually have to climb down on its many conditions as a result of events beyond its control.

There will be many more “external factors” as time goes on. Turkey’s policy and Armenia’s weakness leave us no other choice. There was an offer from Armenia to normalize during the Levon Ter-Petrosyan years, and your country declined it. A relative of mine, Mr. Jirair Libaridian, was sent to Turkey over 30 times and came back empty-handed.

The bottom line: if we have the blockade, then you must have the diplomatic headaches of genocide recognition -- the two are absolutely linked. If you want Armenian activity concerning the recognition to lessen, you need to remove the blockade.

Bear in mind that the Armenian lobby in America will not give up until there is clear recognition, followed by laws that limit Turkish access to the US. Laws can be made requiring that Turkish officers in US academies be certified to not have served in Cyprus or been involved with paramilitaries. In other words, attempts to punish Armenia for the bill will make things a lot worse for Turkey in America. Even if Turkey carries this round, we will keep coming back until we win.

Concerning motives -- I would like remind you that we just had one of the most moderate Armenians in the world get killed not too long ago. I feel like I am taking a risk even discussing this with you, no matter how honestly and frankly. I feel a lot safer lobbying the US government. Mr. Dink was the best of Christians because he loved his enemies. I had written Etyen Mahçupyan asking him, Dink, and all the remaining Armenians in Turkey to leave, and that was about two years ago.

My family is from Arapgir -- very few survived. I want a memorial for their murder, not revenge. If Turkey continues to confuse the issue, it will be at loggerheads with Armenians for ever -- and it is not a bet Turkey should feel permanently comfortable about.

Also, the threats of war do not sit well with your allies and are likely to provoke a severe Russian response -- remember Shapashnikov’s statements in Dushanbe. Forget about it: There will be no withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh, and both Turkey and Azerbaijan -- and, behind them -- their supporters in London (BP), have to get used to that.

Armenia considers the security of Karabakh pivotal to its own security. The outcome of any future conflict with Azerbaijan will determine whether Armenia will continue to exist or disappear at the hands of Turks. I do not think the outcome will necessarily be your foregone conclusion. The risk to the billions invested by the West will undoubtedly bear down on any military decision by Azerbaijan. Money can be a double-edged sword. Also, I do not believe Georgia has any interest whatsoever in allowing Armenia to disappear to the Turks for it will be next.

* It is very much in Armenia’s interest to diversify access to the world. Yes, access through Turkey will be important but not critical as confirmed by Armenia’s recent growth. Turkey’s hostility and Georgia’s improving infrastructure will not be lost to Armenia.

Russia does not need a border to help Armenia. It will do it by opening a front with Azerbaijan, which it accuses of supporting the Chechens. As for the Iranian Azeris, I am afraid they are Iranians before they are Azeris. You have been eating the fruit of the tree planted by Ziya Gökalp -- and it shows.

I received a long stream of letters, some very frank and constructive, some full of anger and hostility. I have responded to them individually as much as possible and to the best of my abilities. In order to help each other see the other side of the coin, the Armenian letters have been faithfully reflected in the foregoing paragraphs with no comments.

Let’s hope that a similar attitude will also prevail on the side of our Armenian friends, colleagues and neighbors, rather than establishing permanent Turkey-bashing.

* Mehmet Ögütçü is a former Turkish and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) diplomat currently residing in London. He can be contacted at ogutcudunya@yahoo.co.uk

Belatedly, the House's History Lesson By Dana Milbank, October 11, 2007; A02

Wondering why Congress can't reach a consensus on the Iraq war? Well, consider that our lawmakers are still divided on the Turkish-Armenian conflict. Of 1915.

With bullets flying in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007, the House Foreign Affairs Committee sat down yesterday to resolve a pressing issue: whether to pass a resolution declaring that the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians 92 years ago qualifies as genocide.

Ankara insists this is nobody's business but the Turks'. But the history-minded House knows better.

"I consider myself a friend of Turkey, but friends don't let friends commit crimes against humanity," said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) in his stinging rebuke of the Ottoman Empire.

Nor was Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) afraid to call a sultan a sultan. He spoke of a need to "speak truth to Turkey" about the 1915 situation.

"Genocide is genocide, and there's no way of sugarcoating it," agreed Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

Indeed not. Only 92 years late, the intrepid members of the committee voted 27 to 21 to condemn the Young Turks of 1915. The Armenians in the audience, wearing stickers urging "Stop the Cycle of Genocide," erupted in applause and tears. Among the celebrants: Catholicos Karekin II, supreme patriarch of the Armenian Church.

Amid such fervor, only a minority of lawmakers dared to argue that it was hardly worth antagonizing Turkey, a crucial ally in Iraq and a rare Muslim friend, over long-ago atrocities perpetrated by long-dead rulers of a long-defunct empire.

"This is crazy," remarked Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who once shot a watermelon as part of his probes of Bill Clinton. "We're in the middle of two wars and we've got troops over there that are at risk, and we're talking about kicking the one ally that's helping us over there in the face."

Then there was the statute-of-limitations conundrum. If it's within Congress's authority to be the arbiter of the Armenian genocide, will it next confront the Romans for the rape of the Sabine women, or the Greeks for sacking Troy? And if attacking the Ottomans, why not weigh in on the siege of Constantinople in 1453?

"Whether it is the Ottoman Empire, the Japanese Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or, indeed, the Roman Empire, I mean, we could go on for a long time condemning the atrocities committed under each," pointed out Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.).

And maybe they will. Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) pointed out that the committee has already probed the enslavement of "comfort women" by imperial Japan. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) announced yesterday that he will soon introduce legislation on atrocities against American Indians.

Ostensibly, the debate was about morality (many proponents noted that Hitler was emboldened by the silence on the Armenian genocide) vs. national security (several opponents observed that most U.S. air cargo to Iraq goes through Turkish bases).

While nobody disputed that something very much like genocide happened to the Armenians 92 years ago, support for the resolution tended to reflect the size of the Armenian population in the lawmakers' districts. All 10 committee members from California (where the census counts 231,777 Armenians) voted aye, while both members from Indiana (total Armenians: 904) voted no. The Californian chairman, Lantos, warned that the measure could cause U.S. troops "to pay an even heavier price" -- then voted yes.

Ultimately, the threat to national security couldn't compete with four women in wheelchairs in the front row wearing pink stickers announcing "I'm a survivor" of the genocide. "I don't like Turkey -- they are animals there," reported Perouz Kalousdian, 97. She left Turkey in 1916 but remembers it clearly; "they came and they took all my uncles," she said.

For lawmakers, the memories were rather less fresh and personal. Lantos reached into the history books and pulled out quotes from the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

"Thank you for your outstanding review of history," Sherman told the chairman.

"Very fair summary of the history," agreed Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.).

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Tex.) thought it would be better if "everyone opens their historic books."

"I don't pretend to be a professional historian," demurred Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

But Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) insisted. "We are all students of history," he told colleagues.

Not all students of logic, however. Sherman, arguing passionately for the label of genocide, acknowledged that the measure was "an irritant to our relationship with Turkey" but then concluded: "That's the best reason to vote for it."

The debate didn't improve from there. Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) complained that "I feel like I have a Turkish sword over my head," while Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) contributed a profound thought: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Likewise, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), arguing in favor of the resolution, offered some pithy advice to the feuding Turks and Armenians. "Move on," he recommended.

If only Congress could do the same.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company


alfa67 wrote:
Rather than concerning itself with genocide that the Ottoman Empire may or may not have committed in 1915, the US congress should be attempting to end the genocide that the whole world knows that the Israeli’s are committing against the Palestinian people RIGHT NOW with the total support of THE US CONGRESS AND US TAXPAYERS MONEY! But, of course, these AIPAC prostitutes are going to do no such thing. This is a sick country.
10/12/2007 7:39:55 AM

alfa67 wrote:
Great work America! The democrat controlled congress made a list of the few remaining countries that Bush/AIPAC haven’t alienated and now they are moving to antagonize those. None of these people are statesmen; they are just gutless PAC junkies. They have absolutely no interest at all in what is good for the United States or their constituencies.
10/12/2007 7:26:12 AM

Hannahjones wrote:
I guess it's safer to act on a 1915 atrocity than on the Iraq atrocities. Now, the Bush Administration has to face the fruits of this rebellion in its dependency on Turkey while contending with Russia's Putin, who is sounding like Bush. The decision to put those mid-range missles in Czechoslavakia might be a good one, but as usual the Decider doesn't discuss it with an ally before he does it. This reminds me of those missles in Cuba. And we all know how we reacted to them.
10/12/2007 7:21:37 AM

jennyatchison wrote:
Uh, Joel, I know you're pretty proud of your little paean to justice, god, freedom and liberty, but you ain't got that just right about France, I'm afraid. You see, the lower house of the French Assembly did pass a resolution re the genocide issue, but it caused SUCH CONTROVERSY, Jacques Chirac was FURIOUS, Villepin the French Foreign Minister and ALL of the French Cabinet ministers disavowed it, and stressed to Turkey that it was very disappointed in the lower house-and that it was it. It never made it to the upper house (equivalent of the Senate) it died there in the lower house.

Sorry to burst your bubble of creative energy there, but facts is facts.
10/12/2007 12:06:22 AM

kasinaiyan wrote:
Why do Armenians feel the need the support of a non-binding US senate resolution if they have proof of this so called "genocide"? How come they are not going straight to the international tribunal for human rights? How come they are trying to use the politicians instead of the international courts to resolve their issues?
10/11/2007 11:25:47 PM

JoelLFriedlander wrote:
When people stand up for principle and there is no price for their actions it has no meaning, but when people stand for a principle and their is a price to pay it is significant. Some years ago the French Assembly declared that the actions of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 were genocide. The result was that the Turks stopped cooperating with them militarily and in other ways. The French made their point, paid their price for their actions and got on with their lives. We need to say what must be said and then get along with our lives. We need to say what the House wants to say. If the Turks punish us, as they well may, it will not change what happened in 1915, but our recognition will probably begin a world action to condemn such actions. Just as an aside, I imagine that when Turkey seeks to become a part of the EU in the future, they might have a price to pay for their actions.
10/11/2007 11:13:27 PM

kevorkkalayjian wrote:
Dear Editor

The 27/21 vote to pas the H. R. 106 in the Foreign Relations committee is a giant step forward for a more perfect democracy here in the United States of America and in the context of our image in the world both for our allies and for our adversaries.

This is the greatest gesture of love and respect to Turkish people. Our NATO brother-in-arms should know that, just as David Kaczynski brought his brother Theodore John Kaczynski to justice, America will not stand idle for deniers of Genocide.

It is a shame that the present administration still opposes this important human rights achievement.


Kevork Kalayjian, October 11, 2007

Madam Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
PA/PL, Rm. 2206
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Madam Secretary Condoleezza Rice:

Your comments during U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations hearings (Wednesday, March 21, 2007), on the issue of the Armenian Genocide are insulting, racist, and void of decency.

According to your remarks the United States should not be involved in a dispute between Turkey and Armenia over whether the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians almost a century ago constituted genocide.

The Armenian Genocide is an American human rights issue, not a dispute between two distant countries. Just as slavery was and still is an American human rights issue not a dispute between Nigeria or any other African state and Great Britain.

The present day Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Nagorno Karapakh, have little concern about the Armenian Genocide because they are the only provinces of historic Armenia which were able to defend themselves against continuous Turkish aggressions and maintain their independence against the harshest odds. These Republics and their neighboring Turkish states do have many issues which have a better chance of being resolved once the United States properly acknowledges the Armenian Genocide.

It is I, and millions of Americans of Armenian descent like me, who lost their ancestral homeland, and found refuge in this great country, it is us that were promised to have our homes back by President Woodrow Wilson, it is us who want you to honor our history and our rights as human beings.

If all Americans adopted your racist attitude about human rights issues probably you would still have been a slave now. After reading your comments I wonder which is worse, the physical enslavement of people, or the enslavement of the mind which leads to the moral prostitution of the American constitution and all the values that it stands for in the hands of this administration.

Your comments are equally insulting and degrading to Turkish Americans and citizens of Turkey who are working to introduce a true democracy in that country, so that it can be integrated into the European Union. True democratic values and traditions are trampled over and destroyed in Turkey by our desire to accommodate bases for our troops, airfields for our warplanes, and contracts for our multinational corporations.

Finally, how would you feel if our past secretary of states told Dr. Martin Luther King and all the civil rights advocates “I think that these historical circumstances require a very detailed and sober look from historians and what we’ve encouraged the ‘Slave Traders’ and the ‘Negroes’ to do is to have joint historical commissions that can look at this, to have efforts to examine their past and, in examining their past, to get over their past”. I took the liberty to replace ‘Turks’ and the ‘Armenians’ with my example, but you can replace with other pairs, such as: Germans and the Jews, Serbs and Kosovars, Americans and Natives, etc.

Thank God that we still have courageous lawmakers on both sides of the isle to question your reasoning on this issue. Your choice of words “I come out of academia, but I’m secretary of state now,” I suppose this is meant to say that you used to be a decent human being when you were in academia, but now that you work for this administration you have to leave moral courage, decency, and common sense behind you.

May God give you the wisdom to do the right thing.


Kevork K. Kalayjian, Jr. ,March 26, 2007 10/11/2007

fzdybel wrote:
Next, I think this committee should go to work on the terrible crimes committed against the native North Americans by the United States Government.

What? No Congressional appetite for that one?
10/11/2007 7:57:00 PM

Sensi23 wrote:
Ty jeez "journalist" Dana Milbank is only turning in ridicule the armenian genocide, i wonder where he would be if he was criticizing its jewish alter-ego, the one which concern those that were nonetheless leading the pitiful lobbying campaign to avoid any crash with the Turkish negationnists. To have the Turkish Jewish community paying for an advertisement in the Washington Post where they play the revisionnists and the appeasers siding with negationnists tells a lot on how morally corrupt are these people.
10/11/2007 7:48:53 PM

BenHidon wrote:
Dana Milbank brings shame to journalism and true journalists!

The Armenian genocide is a fact, and it is a bipartisan issue. Some fools in the government including our president just dont want to piss off (bs excuse because turkey needs us more than we need it) our "ally", the same one which did not let us enter IRAQ from the north costing many many American Lives.

Yah it happened last century just like the holocaust, should we not acknowledge that too just like the president of Iran!
10/11/2007 7:36:00 PM

speed123 wrote:
You people are complaining about pandering to the Armenian community?! Ha!

Look at the pandering to the Jewish community and its deadly effects on foreign policy! We blindly favor the Jewish state and its lobby AIPAC was a MAJOR factor in the decision to attack Iraq and is now pushing for IRAN!

Wake up people - the post can joke about pandering to Armenians and its affect on policy; however, it would never - being jewish owned - truly analyze the impact of pandering to Jewish american and Israel.
10/11/2007 6:57:12 PM

jennyatchison wrote:
And judging that picture that the Post has helpfully provided, the 4 wheelchair folks don't look none too interested in the proceedings... and whatd'ya wanna bet that these Armenian/Americans who were specially wheeled in for this cheap display at emotional pandering aren't even AWARE that the Ottoman Empire exists, huh?
10/11/2007 5:57:46 PM

halley382001 wrote:
Outrageous. A pandering of the Democrats for purely political gain & $$. I could see the U.S. making a gesture of atonement for its own grievous sins against black people and Amerindians, but this is blind stupidity, an affront to modern Turks who are almost a century removed from the Ottoman era. If the Democrats keep up this kind of grandstanding at the expense of reality, they do not deserve support.
10/11/2007 4:29:34 PM

schmetterlingtoo wrote:
Not-sorry to rain on your self-righteousness, but how about explaining what a pathetic piece of pandering (I like being alliterative) on the part of Pelosi it was to bring those senior Armenians in wheelchairs in the first instance to make insulting cracks about our chief ally in Iraq, huh? I take it that was okay, when the net result may be that thousands of American soldiers' lives may be in peril as a result of the insult to Turkey, and the withdrawing of their support for the military effort?

I don't know about you, but I got no problem with saying that resolution, and those grannies in wheelchairs, didn't belong anywhere NEAR Congress yesterday!
10/11/2007 4:24:32 PM

not_that wrote:
Man, you can bring your scummy little act even into the center ring of evil can't you?

Do you think you're funny or something?

If you were there, I hope you dared tell those women who were victims of this genocide you acknowledge then dismiss to "move on".
10/11/2007 4:14:09 PM

GWGOLDB wrote:
What is strange about the Turkish attitude today is that the Turkish government of the time (before the Sultanate was overthrown by the nationalists) ADMITTED the genocide! This was all shown in a PBS documentary. The three main ringleaders were convicted in absentia (they were later murdered abroad by Armenian nationalists)
10/11/2007 3:32:10 PM

vyrenee wrote:
Mocking genocide, rape and murder? What can possibly be the motivation for this so-called "journalism"?
10/11/2007 1:29:50 PM

schmetterlingtoo wrote:
Yes, agreed, it was a quite informative article, Milbank-particularly the bit about the four 90 plus year old Armenian-Americans in wheelchairs who Pelosi and Co. trotted out, cracking "I don't like Turkey."

You couldn't make this stuff up, sadly.
10/11/2007 1:25:26 PM

schmetterlingtoo wrote:
Since everybody was "genociding" in the Ottoman Empire during the time period in question (WWI), and since the Ottoman Empire was largely carved up by Britain and France, particularly Britain, which led to slaughters of the ethnic Turks by the Armenians, the slaughering of Armenians by the Caucasian Ottomans, as well as Kurds and Greeks in this area-and since Congress seems hell-bent on condemning the modern state of Turkey who had not one damn thing to do with this mess-shouldn't our good-for-nothing witless Congress in the form of Pelosi and company ALSO HAND OUT A GENOCIDE CONDEMNATION TO OUR FRIENDS THE BRITS AND THE FRENCH AS WELL?

I mean, they WERE responsible for the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, weren't they?

It makes as much sense to do that, as what Pelosi did yesterday, in pandering to her Armenian-American constitutency.
10/11/2007 1:19:43 PM

mom_in_metro wrote:
Very, very nicely done, Dana. Rape of the Sabine women, ha ha ha.
And I agree with the postGlobal on this one, what were the lawmakers smoking ?
10/11/2007 1:05:47 PM

mom_in_metro wrote:
Very, very nicely done, Dana. Rape of the Sabine women, ha ha ha.
And I agree with the postGlobal on this one, what were the lawmakers smoking ?
10/11/2007 1:05:47 PM

milosch1 wrote:
It's a cute piece, Mr. Milbank, but you ignore some points--key points that only Chris Smith had the guts to say at the hearing: the Turkish government of TODAY denies the genocide; the Turkish government of today puts people in jail TODAY for calling it genocide; that this is an ongoing slap in the face to all Armenians; that the Administration is offering complicity in genocide denial as a perk of alliance with the US. These are not petites detailles!
10/11/2007 12:21:03 PM

sequoiaqueneaux wrote:

I don't have a problem with the House joining Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and many others that have formally recognised genocide against the Armenians. But really, why now? The House should be proceeding with impeachment proceedings against our criminal and incompetent executive administration, not piddling about with this. It's almost as bad as the Republican controlled Congress babbling about flag burning and horse meat while hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of people were getting blown up in Iraq.

10/11/2007 12:10:51 PM

dalailama wrote:
If we sacrifice morality for the sake of politics on this issue it'll mark the beginning of our demise. Everyone knows how to be logical, but very few know how to be moral when the gain is not evident and history rewards them in every way. Look at our history people! Weak-hearted pragmatists like Dana, who can only see at arm's length, are not speaking from the position of power and objectivity, but fear. And fear enslaves people and poisons their thinking. By printing these types of articles, the Post is chastising our congressmen for taking a very small, but much needed step towards the truth. Why recognize THIS genocide? Because all the great evils that were done in the 20th century started when the entire world saw that the destruction of the first Christian civilization went entirely unpunished. I still think this resolution won’t, unfortunately, pass the House because we already have too many public opinion shapers like Dana, who have sent this nation on a downward spin with their political pragmatism and absolute lack of envy for decency.
10/11/2007 11:46:57 AM

timweber wrote:
What a facile, shallow little man this Dana Milbank is, lining up his little quotes to make everyone look silly. When faced with the living embodiment of genocide survival, he can only smirk at the buttons they wear and the pathetic but understandable animus they feel toward the country that destroyed their families and wiped out much of their history and culture. Little Dana Milbank should go back to covering the haircuts of presidential candidates and how much they cost. He's clearly out of his depth here. Rep. Sherman is perfectly logical: Let's irritate Turkey - with the truth. For a country that loves to play hardball, it sure is thin-skinned, isn't it? One would almost think it's still inclined to mistreat its ethnic minorities and political dissidents.
10/11/2007 10:24:19 AM

arrabbiato wrote:
"No wonder that you have an eleven percent favorable rating. It is time for independent voters to take control and get rid of both the Democrats and the Republicans. Worthless from the top down."

I COULDN'T agree more. It's crazy, really, something out of the Twilight Zone, Armenian "genocide" resolution jeopardizing our entire military operations in Iraq, which has to do with a long ago empire made up of Caucasians who were slaughtering the ethnic Turks, while the Armenians were also slaughtering Turks, getting slaughtered themselves, as were the Greeks and Kurds and now the ethnic Turks who run Turkey have to what? admit to what? for whom? and for what purpose? And this involves this country's national interests, security or otherwise.........how????

It just shows out of touch these dim-witted never-should-have-been-elected jokesters really are.

And Pelosi has lost all credibility, not to mention, my support, has a result.
10/11/2007 9:59:18 AM

ChuckLane wrote:
A little history: The Ataturk "reformers", aka Young Turks, were heavily involved in the Armenian genocide. Another bit of history: the Kurds were heavily used by the Turks in their persecution of the Armenians. What goes around comes around? So much so that I wonder why we spend time on these long past atrocities?
10/11/2007 9:54:47 AM

ahmedosman001 wrote:
I am sure the USA is sending more assistant to that region more than any other nations; I really appreciate what Americans they do for the whole world not only for Darfur.
What is the meaning of giving me food while someone is putting his gun on my back? You are feeding me, thank you, but he is killing me!!! So killing is more obvious in that area than getting the food itself.
We as American, acting is to let the world know that we are here, we are every where but how that effective in preventing crimes of the stupid regime in Sudan? A regime gains its power from playing with its oil revenue, paying for whoever gives a help whatever kind of money he needed.
Also, I am not sure if the assistant and the money you are talking about are in the right hands, I know that place and how things administered there.
10/11/2007 9:41:24 AM

cleancut77 wrote:
This is lastest issue is why many Americans are so disgusted by Congress. Is this the most pressing issue facing Americans today. Why stop at the Armenians lets denounce all of Europe because at one time or another just about every European country has expelled the Jews. Let's denounce the African chiefs who willingly sold their people into slavery. This whole episode is crazy.
10/11/2007 9:21:45 AM

Garak wrote:
Where were you when the US condemned Ahadinezhad's Holocaust conference where he questioned whether Hitler really killed a few Jews? WW II is ancient history, and the US has better things to do than get involved in historical disputes. We need Iran to help us solve the single most pressing national security issue facing the US, stabilizing Iraq. Why waste our time with this pointless historical dispute? It's counterproductive and put our heros in uniform in Iraq at risk. We need to have good relations with Iran more than we need to stir up dusty historical disputes.

Right, Dana? This is your logic, just applied to a slightly different issue. Of course you agree. One genocide, one historical dispute, is no better than another.

Unless you're out to prove the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis. So tell us, O Aider and Abetter of Holocaust Denial, would you put the Jews in their place? We shoot ourselves in foot for Israel, we can damn well do it for Truth.
10/11/2007 9:20:42 AM

dyinglikeflies wrote:
It was genocide. By having failed to address the moral issue for decades, during years less remote from the atrocities, we are left here to either say something or be silent today. There is, however, a larger issue: Genocide itself must become abhorrent and unacceptable as a matter of international (not domestic) law. This isn't about the Armenians, nor was it just about the Jews, Rwandans etc. Turkey itself should be approached and urged diplomatically to conduct an internal re-appraisal of its past. Same with Japan (didn't they surrender "unconditionally"?) But a congressional resolution directed against an ostensible ally in wartime is not the way to do this.
10/11/2007 9:13:52 AM

progressivebulldog wrote:
Why now Mr. Milbank? Why does it matter if we decry genocide from way back in 1915? Because Turkey is poised to invade northern Iraq, which is now largely under Kurdish control because they have a large Kurdish population of they're own that they want to control. If we don't decry what happened in 1915 we may have a repeat today with the Kurds taking the place of the Armenians.

Getting history right is the right thinkng to do but more importantly decrying a countries past crimes makes it less likely that they'll repeat them since no one said anything the first time. The US has a personal stake as well since we ourselves are occupying Iraq, the very country that the Turks are poised to attack.
10/11/2007 9:02:17 AM

kblowry wrote:
ahmedosman001 - You simply don't know what you're talking about. The Unites States has sent the most aid to Sudan than any other country, $2.6 billion in humanitarian aid according to USAID. Is that what you call doing nothing? What more do you suggest we do, bomb Khartoum? I thought that kind of interventionism got us in trouble internationally? I agree that more needs to be done, but don't accuse Americans of "not caring" because we do. The United States in fact also gave the most international aid to Armenian survivors in 1915. Our country is far from perfect, but we aren't the evil empire you make us out to be.
10/11/2007 9:01:13 AM

kblowry wrote:
daskinner wrote:
Armenia was a genocide, yes. But is this really the most pressing thing on Congress's plate? Why now, and not in 1918 or 1920 when the Turks were defeated Axis?

Because the United States didn't want to piss the new Turkish government under Attaturk off. Just like it doesn't want to piss them off now. There were military tribunals and some of the perpetrators were hung, but most of the top military and government fled the country and never recieved justice. Plus the word "genocide" didn't exist until the 1930's when it was coined by Rapheal Lempkin.
10/11/2007 8:47:21 AM

PMaranci wrote:
Ha ha! You're right, Dana. Genocide doesn't matter if it was a long time ago. It even becomes funny.

Funny, funny Armenians whining about something so silly and unimportant as the mass murders and rapes of one and a half million men, women and children!

I lost many grand-uncles and grand-aunts to the Genocide - the Genocide that Turkey continues to claim never happened, despite massive amounts of evidence and the consenses of the vast majority of historians. Heck, the Post itself reported on the Genocide when it was happening, and until recently staunchly urged recognition of it by Congress.

Thanks, Dana, for telling me just how worthless the lives of my family really were. And thanks to the Post for helping Turkey continue to deny the historical truth. I'm sure that helping deny genocide won't encourage the perpetrators of future atrocities...right?

But if there ARE some grumpy genocide-whiners out there, let me urge them to contact the Post's advertisers and explain that they will not be purchasing anything from them as long as they advertise in the Post, while the Post continues its pro-denial stance. Cc the Washington Post Company, too, so that they can know that we're too busy laughing over the Post's belittling of the wacky genocide whiners to patronize their advertisers.

Then we can all laugh together.
10/11/2007 8:45:42 AM

kblowry wrote:
What do these countries have in common: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela? They have all recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915 for what it was. And Turkey has not blown them off the map yet. This is not a resolution to punish the modern Turkish government or the Turkish people, it is to recognize the past for what it was and to begin the healing process for the survivors of that genocide. It's time to stand up for justice, even if it is belated. Better late than never.
10/11/2007 8:41:16 AM

vigor wrote:
to be honest, I still don't see the objective of this misdirection play...
stay tuned?
10/11/2007 8:38:46 AM

ahmedosman001 wrote:
Shame on you America, shame on you the so called free world…

Nothing left for American to argue about and condemned after the Armenian genocide that took place more than seventy years ago, shame on you condemning the past of other countries while NOW in Darfur is dark and the future is completely unknown. The Armenians have already gone, the crime took place when the world was struggling to make the needed balance and put together polices, international laws to build up the free world.
Guys, what is wrong with Darfur, why people in Sudan are not counted as other people, you were talking about possible Rwanda in that area, just talking and condemning that stupid government in Sudan but an action is the last thing the FREE WORLD will think to do. The killing is intensifying at this moment, villages have been wiped out through the last two weeks and just the only thing I will be able to say now is SHAME ON YOU.

10/11/2007 8:28:29 AM

ghovagimyan wrote:
Genocide denial is the position of any state engaged in mass murder. Look at Darfur or Rwanda. Forcing a state to admit to their crimes is morally correct. War criminals, dictators, and bullies, hate the truth. It makes perfect sense that George Bush would side with the denial of atrocities. Freedom of speech is one of our most precious liberties here in the US. In Turkey it is a crime to say there was an Armenian Genocide. So Dana, how long do you think you would last as journalist in a country like Turkey?
10/11/2007 8:28:27 AM

rlbowolick wrote:
If Nancy Pelosi and the leading Republicrats can't find anything more pressing to do then they should really consider a very long vacation in thier home districts.

This country is coming apart at the seams and these folks have resurected a 90 year old problem. Fix the FDA, the USDA, the Commerce Department, the Justice Department, K Street interference in government business, provide oversight to the Bush administration, work on ethics reform, fix our broken borders, fix free trade, fix the problem with China.

No wonder that you have an eleven percent favorable rating. It is time for independent voters to take control and get rid of both the Democrats and the Republicans. Worthless from the top down.
10/11/2007 8:23:10 AM

rlbowolick wrote:
If Nancy Pelosi and the leading Republicrats can't find anything more pressing to do then they should really consider a very long vacation in thier home districts.

This country is coming apart at the seams and these folks have resurected a 90 year old problem. Fix the FDA, the USDA,
the Commerce Department, the Justice Department, K Street interference in government business, provide oversight to the Bush administration, work on ethics reform, fix our broken borders, fix free trade, fix the problem with China.

No wonder that you have an eleven percent favorable rating. It is time for independent voters to take control and get rid of both the Democrats and the Republicans. Worthless from the top down.
10/11/2007 8:23:10 AM

Steamboater wrote:
A people on the move, a forced move and then forcefully put into what they politely called "detention camps" but what we know now as concentration camps where death, no, murder was the order of the day. According to Wikpedia: "Though nearly all the camps, including the primary sites, were open air, the remainder of the mass killing in minor camps was not limited to direct killings, but also to mass burning, poisoning and drowning ... "
On the road to exile " ... the death rate from starvation and sickness (was) very high and (was) increased by the brutal treatment of the authorities, whose bearing toward the exiles as they (were) being driven back and forth over the desert (was) not unlike that of slave drivers. With few exceptions no shelter of any kind (was) provided and the people coming from a cold climate (were) left under the scorching desert sun without food and water. Temporary relief (could) only be obtained by the few able to pay officials ... "

Darfur? No. This attempt at total genocide began 92 years ago amid what would become the war to make the world safe for democracy--WWI in 1915--and lasted until the end of the war in 1918. Congress rightly passed a resolution recognizing this mass atrocity at the beginning of the 20th century, but Turkey tried to stop us from reinforcing the truth. The Turks say relocation, we say genocide. You say tomaoto, he says tom-ah-to. It's still the same.
There are those who say what happened to the Armenians is irrelevant because it happened so long ago, but as detectives investigating serial killers know, there's a pattern here, a pattern that needs addressing and more so recognition. If the the most powerful country on the face of the earth hasn't the courage to stand up to history, who will? Republicans for the most part said this wan't the time to pass the respultion. If not now, when?

A brief History
November 1914: The Ottoman Empire sides with the Central powers against France, Britain and Russia and launches war against the Russians, a fierce war but disaster for the Turks. Scapegoats to remedy the disaster against the Russians are put into place and christian Armenians who predominately lived in Anatolia are chosen. Paranoia grips the Turks; they blame the Armenians for helping the Russians. All kinds of hateful propaganda is directed at Armenians, especially an attempt to help open up the Dardenelles.

April 24, 1915: The round-up is in place. Armenian Intellectuals are the first target and are executed.

May 29, 1915: The Tehcir Law " ... is passed giving the Ottoman government and military authorization to deport anyone it "sensed" as a threat to national security.[22] Several months later, the Temporary Law of Expropriation and Confiscation was passed, stating that all property, including land, livestock, and homes belonging to Armenians, was to be confiscated by the authorities ... "

Hopefully, you've read enough books, seen enough films and taken enough classes to get the idea that all this seems slightly familiar.

Result: One and half million Armenians were killed, out of a total of two and a half million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

President after U.S. president has said that we would never give in to hostage takers but that seems extremely selective. The Turks have threatened to hold hostage the Incirlik Air Force Base if this resolution is passed and the gist of their thrats is that Amercia will be denied use of the base for battering Iraq. Threats are made as well about Turkey letting loose at the Kurds in Iraq. Bush and The Washington Post have said that our national security would be at stake if congress passes the resolution. But these are the same people who gave us the disaster in Iraq. National security wasn't something they understood when the Iraq war began and it's not something they care very much about now. It shouldn't matter much to those of us who want this war to end and want all the troops home ASAP that we have an airforce base in Turkey that will only be a cog in the continuation of this war. Neither should Turkey's threats agains the Kurds matter much in the sense that the Turks are as much determined to do away with the Kurds as they were with the Armenians and when they go into what Kurdish areas in Iraq in full force the U.S. won't do anything about it and neither will Maliki; he doesn't have the will nor anything near a military to stand up to the Turks.

There's a history here of not just genocide but of caving into the Turks every time the matter of Armenian genocide is brought up. In the 1930's Irving Thalberg, producer at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, had on his schedule a production of Franz Werfel's brilliant and stirring novel based on the Armenian genocide--"The Forty Days of Musah Dagh" (The Forty Days of the Mountain of Moses). The Turkish government put pressure on the President of the United States to put pressure on Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM, and the film never got off the drawing board.

Resolutions like today's resolution have also been brought up by congress but were never passed because (surprise surprise) President Clinton too caved into the Turks as well as, shamefully, Representative Tom Lantos (D-California 12th) who should have known better then and hopefully will know better today when the resolution is put to a vote.

Sure, modern day Turks had nothing to do with the genocide but when they're in denial about it, it's lying to oneself and the lie then becomes part of the problem and makes them accomplices.

Turkey wants history to just go away as if somehow the blood spilled on the roads out of Anatolia never happened. The Armenian genocide was an ugly forerunner of what was to come throughout the 20th century and continues today. Those who deny the Holocaust, along with all kinds of jackbooted thugs still reign in all parts of the world so it's important that what happened to Armenians 92 years ago be recognized as fact, not so much so that it will never happen again; hate and ignorance have become a staple of this thing we call humanity, but because anyone's sorrow and pain caused by government needs accountability. Modern day Turkish peoples need not take responsibility for genocide but they should take responsibility for their country's history.

10/11/2007 7:45:01 AM

Steamboater wrote:
We don't have to go back as far as romantimes to condemn atrocitues but the rmenian reolution was a fait one. It should have beenpassed. Condemn when survivors are alive. That's the best way to do this and there are plenty of Comfort Women alive to testify about japan's rape and forcing these women to become prostitutes for the Japanese army in WWII. Japan has yet to come to terms with not only that but what atroicities commited against U.S. servicemen and women in their POW camps.
10/11/2007 7:34:19 AM

lichtme wrote:
Let us now pass a bill condemning the WASP genocide of Africans and Native Americans!

The DAR is sure to support Rep. Meeks' measure--
10/11/2007 7:14:22 AM

dirk2 wrote:
It's an interesting approach. Would it mean we stop harrassing Iran about questioning the Holocaust too? After all, that's so last century.
10/11/2007 6:23:24 AM

what4gives wrote:
Quid pro quo: Well, let's have a compromise. We can pass this resolution and Turkey can pass a resolution decrying 89 years (think that's right) of brutal American slavery that dehumanized African Americans. And Turkey can add a coda about lynching as well.
(Solomon--look to thy laurels.)
10/11/2007 6:10:44 AM

puppy123 wrote:
It's no wonder that Americans have so little faith and confidence in their leaders. Armenians, Turks, Kurds, and several other races live in a very tough neighborhood, as we now know only too well. The Turks and Armenians both committed atrocities, on each other and upon others. BAD all the way around, but this is the 21st Century, and we'd better learn to get along better now. The results of failing to do so could be catostrophic for everyone.
10/11/2007 5:24:45 AM

notarzt wrote:
Thank you jennyatchison for the prompt and lucid rebuttal. I agree that there are plenty of fat fish to fry on the congressional agenda, and that Ataturk and the Young Turks were a clean break from the Ottomans, in fact the term "Turk" was considered an insult akin to "country bumpkin" under the Ottomans until it was elevated by Ataturk's revolution. It is also true that our "Fatherland insecurity" laws need significant reworking. I would however argue that the support of regional self determination and preservation of cultures and languages is a laudable long them goal for the U.S. if our foreign policy is to regain some semblance of dignity and reason, and the past behaviour and current posturing of an allied state that threatens to assault a nation into which we have, rightly or wrongly sent a huge contingent of American troops should be of at least some interest to the American people. Mahalo for your interest.
10/11/2007 4:19:42 AM

jennyatchison wrote:
Sorry, notartz, I know you think you've got it right, but you haven't. You see, Turkey and Ataturk's modern state had nothing to do with the Ottoman Empire, they largely weren't even of the same ethnic group-the Ottomans by and large were from the Caucasus region, i.e., Caucasians-they were not ethnic Turks, of the kind that make up modern Turkey-the ethnic Turks were slaughtered by the Armenians, and the Ottomans, as were the other groups you mentioned, wholescale relocations and slaughters-that sort of characterized the times and that area of the world. Which is why this whole resolution issue is so nonsensical for Congress to even consider taking up taxpayer money to put it on the agenda-it needs to stay with the historians, and be debated in other venues-meanwhile-our homeland security laws need fixing, among a million other more important issues that are directly relevant to Americans-not Armenians of a 100 years ago- but Americans.
10/11/2007 3:36:37 AM

notarzt wrote:
History may not be so remote. The Turkic people of Anatolia are the newcomers in a region of ancient peoples, all of whom have been subjugated, first to the Ottomans, and later to the state of Turkey. Anatolia has been occupied for millenia, with history that extends back to the likes of the Hittites and Troy. Anatolia is the westernmost extension of Altaic peoples whose kin spread across central Asia to Mongolia. Since Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) cast his lot with the West at the fall of the Ottoman empire, adopted Roman script (instead of Arabic or Cyrillic) and adopted a legal system comprised of an amalgam of European legal codes Turkey has thrived. The dark secret has been the fates of the Armenians, Greeks and Kurds who predated the Turks in these lands. Diaspora and oppression have been the fates of these peoples, and the process continues. Elsewhere in this issue the subject of possible cross-border raids into northern Iraq by Turkish forces in pursuit of PKK forces demonstrates the still unsettled history of the region. Turkey must accept the truth of its past and continuing transgressions against the non-Turkic peoples of the Anatolian peninsula and accept responsibility for its past and its future. Failing that the dream of Ataturk that Turkey be a part of Europe instead of the rump of Asia, as well as any semblance of regional peace has no hope. History lives on.
10/11/2007 3:12:47 AM

edmit1956 wrote:
Dana Millbank seems to speak in support for fashism? What else is new? It's so typical for Americans, who were friends to Hitler. They deported Charles Chaplin from the country after he critisized Hitler. After all, from American progmatic point of view a hamburger is more important then justice. This is why fashizm has won in Germany: hamburger was valued more then moral...
10/11/2007 3:05:40 AM

dogsbestfriend wrote:
Sure Milbank. Why don't you type holocaust in the search field and start bitching about the at least 2 dozen bills per year related to your sacred holocaust.

10/11/2007 2:36:26 AM

daskinner wrote:
Armenia was a genocide, yes. But is this really the most pressing thing on Congress's plate? Why now, and not in 1918 or 1920 when the Turks were defeated Axis?
What a pack of dissipated twits.
10/11/2007 2:25:11 AM

arrabbiato wrote:
Oh, how I WISH I hadn't read this....it's too depressing to think that with so many pressing issues facing this country domestically and particularly internationally, our Congress, our elected representatives are spending taxpayer money looking up a matter they know nothing about in a history book in order to pass a resolution that could have profoundly negative consequences for our entire interests in the Middle East, but most particularly, in Iraq. And then, we ALSO discover that this self same Congress is investigating the issue of the KOREAN COMFORT WOMEN OF WWII?

Seriously, is Rod Serling going to step forward at this point, and tell us the scenario we've just witnessed took place in a little known corner of the Twilight Zone?
10/11/2007 2:04:18 AM

BenHidon wrote:
Mil-lies or whom ever wrote this horrible biased article, more than half of the (231,777 Armenians) you speak about live in one district so your whole argument about 10 congressmen and Armenian Americans is complete BS. Well then again most all of this article is. Shame on the Washington Post for printing this garbage!
10/11/2007 1:12:43 AM

BenHidon wrote:
Im very glad this resolution passed, because I for one am not someone who feels that another "ally" can hold us hostage for speaking the truth. The Turks have been denying this sad part of history for as long as I can remember.

10/11/2007 1:08:38 AM

speed123 wrote:
Give it up Milbank, you neo con. Look at how the Washington Post and Jewish owned papers (nyts) and congress bend over backwards to the AIPAC lobby and constant referrals to the holocaust and unqualified support of Israel...yet if a different group wants recognition for their past genocide you tell them to "move on" and treat it as a joke. What ethnocentrism!
10/11/2007 12:59:24 AM

zanestevens wrote:
Egad, what is with the Washonton Post lately. Why do you fight tooth and nail to appease mass murder. There is a crucial difference between the Armenian Genocide and the Romans raping Sabine women. No one is crazy enough to say those Sabine women deserved it, or that it never happened at all, yet this is exactly what Turkey is doing. No one denies these long past atrocities, except the Turks, they are the exception. Hence, the necessity of a Congressional resolution.
10/11/2007 12:50:53 AM

tbnews2 wrote:
An unusually strong analysis of a committee meeting.
10/11/2007 12:27:25 AM

akhanamiryan wrote:
Armenians' Genocide of 1915 is 92 years old and if is an old phenomenon, why is Turkey so actions to block it?
Obviously some event are not aging in time as fast as the masterminds and their inheritors would like it to happen.
10/11/2007 12:15:54 AM

yasseryousufi wrote:
"I consider myself a friend of Turkey, but friends don't let friends commit crimes against humanity"......ya gotta love the guts of these congressmen/women. whilst america is busy committing genocide in two countries they're worried about a genocide that hppened 100 years ago! well how about a resolution condemning the romans for genocide next time round. To Turkey all I can say that with friends like america ya dont need any enemies
10/11/2007 12:11:54 AM

GFrank2 wrote:
For Dana Milbank...

I was very disappointed in the opinion you expressed tonight on Olbermann's Countdown regarding President Jimmy Carter's interview remarks about Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Unfortunately, six years have gone by and almost no one in a position of power has been willing to speak the truth about the incompetence, the disastrous policies, and the incident after incident of criminal behavior displayed by the current administration.

Ford spoke only from the grave; Greenspan spoke out only after retirement. Time after time, I think to myself "Gee, it’s too bad you weren't in a position of power to address this catastrophe. Oh wait, you were!"

Carter’s willingness to speak out does liken him to Michael Moore. The compliment? Unlike everyone in the current administration, Moore, in retrospect, has always been proven right.

I really wish that facts, reality, truth, and speaking out about truth were not so out of style these days. I have a feeling that the current lack of courage will spell the end of the nation I love.

Tonight you did not criticize the content of former President Carter's comments; you criticized his willingness to speak truth. Shame on you!
10/10/2007 9:25:32 PM


Kamuran A. Kadipasaoglu said...


Once again, it has become painfully obvious that neither the US Government nor the American public is inclined to lend an ear to the Turkish Diaspora. This is despite the fact that the latter’s position has never been that the world accept the Turkish thesis concerning the Armenian uprising of 1915. Its only plea to the world has been the upholding of the Openness Principle and the granting of a chance to tell its side of the story, because every story does have another side.

The Armenian Lobby is just too rich and too powerful; and it has been active in the Diaspora for much too long. It has become a huge industry pumped by business magnates, multi-billion dollar companies, millions of dedicated citizens, etc.; feeding not only the Gregorian Church and ANCA, but also researchers, research institutions, university programs, professors, libraries, lobbying groups, politicians, etc. What is worse, to achieve success, it doesn’t shy away from using whatever means necessary, including but not limited to continuous brainwashing of the younger generations, distortion of historical facts, international terrorism, and overt bribery. And why should it, when the opponent has wasted decades, nay, a whole century, wrapped in a comfortable post-imperial nonchalance and scientific apathy, only to shake it off when things started to get from bad to worse on the international scene. And now, just like in La Fontaine’s famous fable, although the Turkish hare is in the middle of an all-out sprint, the Armenian turtle is just too close to the finish line.

Thanks to the century-long Armenian propaganda, left inconceivably unchecked by Turks, the paradigm has now so shifted that, anyone who dares open the matter to academic debate is immediately branded a ‘Genocide Denier’. What is worse, these ‘Deniers’ are not only denied themselves sole access to the public stage to tell their side of the story but, should they attempt to invite a ‘balancing view’ to the platform, they invariably receive the standardized answer ‘I find it unethical to sit at the same table with Genocide Deniers’. By the same token, the ‘historians’, who support the Armenian thesis of genocide against the Turkish contention that it was a civil strife, in which both sides succumbed in great numbers to slaughter, starvation, disease, and the elements; well, those historians are awarded amply and immediately with ‘professorships’ and Nobel Prizes.

What really hurts, even more than this seemingly unbreakable vicious cycle, and because overwhelming archival material is available against the case of ‘one and a half million unarmed innocents’ having been ‘slaughtered for no other reason than being Armenians’; is that the question being put in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee by Chairman Lantos should still be whether ‘… to give in to the desire to express our solidarity with the Armenian people and to condemn this historic nightmare through the use of the word genocide … against the risk that passage of this resolution … could endanger our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and damage efforts to promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey.’

Such political manipulation of an essentially historical question is injurious to the Turkish people because it blatantly ignores the hundreds of thousands of Turkish and Muslim lives that perished in the hands of ‘Haik” guerillas, who were determined to create an Armenian majority in the Eastern Provinces of the weakened and disintegrating Ottoman Empire and, thus, to establish an independent state in the so-called ‘Historic Armenian Homeland’. It is also insulting, because it presumes Turkish culpability, a priori and unilaterally; giving the impression that a No vote should be contemplated solely to preserve the current US political interests, not to uphold the veracity and abundance of the archival evidence supporting either thesis.

Strangely, though, the circulation of such rhetoric within one of the world’s most powerful legislative bodies, and the answer to it in the affirmative, which flies in the face of all scientific methodology and academic authority; feels neither injurious nor insulting to me as a Turkish-American citizen, who is otherwise deeply concerned about this issue. Perhaps the reason lies in my keen understanding of, and resignation to, the fact that votes and campaign contributions are stronger evidence for politicians all over the world than are historical facts, with the painstaking study of which these politicians are sadly disinterested no less for lack of academic training as for financial and political gain. Or, perhaps, it lies in a mental image formed collectively outside the US about the American people that they are not among the savviest when it comes to geographic and historical matters; an image substantiated by the fact that most couldn’t even locate Turkey on the map, let alone know what happened there a century ago. Wouldn’t it be only normal then, I ask myself, that their representatives should not be any better in that regard. Otherwise, how would they have kept their silence as the most ruthless genocide of a truly innocent Middle Eastern nation was unrolling in front of their eyes for almost a decade? Or, how could they justify the recent vote they casted in favor of that same innocent nation’s invasion under the pretext of ‘bringing civilization’ to a civilization, which is already 5-millennium old, by one that is her junior by at least a factor of 20.

I think Turkish-Americans should not take any of this fast-unfolding international political farce too seriously, even personally. My recommendation is just to smile cordially, understandingly, and caringly at their American and Armenian neighbors, friends and colleagues, who might tease them with comments, sometimes even with sarcasm. After all, two things are certain: Americans, as we know them, won’t keep asking for more than two days, or after the first NFL or MLB game, whichever comes first; and Armenians, as we know them, won’t push this to the ultimate end, i.e., they will shy away from spilling a single drop of their blood for a single square inch of the ‘Homeland’ they so ardently lay claims on from their comfortable position, i.e., hidden behind their Big Brother.


Kamuran A. Kadipasaoglu, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary
Turkish-American Heritage Political Action Committee
2726 Bissonnet St., #240-133
Houston, TX 77005

Anonymous said...

Bush OK’s another Genocide by Opposing Armenian Genocide Resolution

The last time a human rights issue created so much soul searching in America was probably September 22, 1862, when Abraham Lincoln signed a presidential decree for the emancipation of the slaves.

The House Foreign Relations Committee vote 27/21 on H. R. 106, acknowledging the Armenian Genocide, is the emancipation of the survivors of the victims of the genocide. This is a giant step forward for more reverence to human dignity here in the United States of America and in the context of our image in the world both for our allies and for our adversaries.

This resolution is the greatest gesture of love and respect to the Turkish people. Those who advocate denial treat the Turkish people as inferior being not able to handle the truth. Our NATO brother-in-arms should know that, just as David Kaczynski brought his brother Theodore John Kaczynski (The Unabomber) to justice, America will not stand idle for deniers of Genocide.

By opposing this resolution, President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, have become the moral axis of evil, because they have given the green light to the Turkish government to go ahead and commit genocide against other minorities in Turkey.

The necessary ingredients are there; there is the PKK, which has been declared a terrorist organization; the Kurdish minority living in Turkey could easily be accused of supporting the PKK, George Bush, just like Hitler, has given his blessings to the Turkish generals, by virtually saying: who after all remembers the Armenians?

Opponents of this human rights issue are bigots and racists, who do not think that the Turkish people have the common sense and the decency to be treated as civilized human beings. Instead, these deniers are treating the Turks as if they are the ‘Barbarian of the Middle East’ who cannot be expected to behave in similar standards as people living in Western democracies.

Hence, while we do not deny the Holocaust, because we have bases and enlisted personnel in Germany, these people make us believe that we should treat the Turks as sub-human barbarians and let their governments deny a crime so that we can use their bases. What’s next? The 9/11 attacks never happened? Or, was it a civil war?

While other countries are criticized, sanctioned, and attacked when they conquer a neighboring country, according to the US State Department it is OK for the Turkish governments to attack and conquer half of Cyprus. Why? Because, we have to appease our ‘Barbarian Friends’ so that we can keep our bases in their country.

It is a shame that the present administration still opposes this important human rights initiative. It is a disgrace that there are still people amongst us, who see no harm in denying a crime for profit.

This administration and its supporters marched into the White House as the defenders of the faith and the family values, they turned up to be a pack of wolves ready to sell America’s honor.

I am proud that my representative, Congressman Eliot Engel, voted for this resolution.

I urge you to make sure that H. R. 106 comes to the House floor and that your representative votes for it!

Kevork Kalayjian

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