Bush reiterates opposition to Armenian genocide measure in Congress
The Associated Press
Friday, October 5, 2007
WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush told the Turkish prime minister
on Friday that he strongly opposes a resolution in Congress that would
label the World War I-era deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians
Bush and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked by telephone about
the legislation, which is to go before the House of Representatives
Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. It is expected to be approved.
Gordon Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said Bush "reiterated his
opposition to this resolution, the passage of which would be harmful
to U.S. relations with Turkey."
Johndroe said Bush believes the Armenian episode ranks among the
greatest tragedies of the 20th century, but the determination whether
"the events constitute a genocide should be a matter for historical
inquiry, not legislation."
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed 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.
The Armenians, a minority in Ottoman Turkey, died from 1915 to 1923,
the year modern Turkey was born from the remains of the 600-year-old
At the U.S. State Department, the senior official who deals with
Turkish relations said the United States position is not to deny or
accept that genocide occurred. Nevertheless, Assistant Secretary of
State Daniel Fried said, "We do not believe this bill would advance
either the cause of historical truth or Turkish-Armenian
reconciliation or the interests of the United States."
The Turkish reaction to passage of the bill would be extremely strong,
Fried said. It would do "grave harm" to relations with Turkey, a NATO
ally, and damage the U.S. war effort in Iraq, Turkey’s neighbor.
The resolution is largely symbolic and would not be binding on foreign
policy. Similar measures have been offered before and never passed,
but it appears to have a good chance of passage in the
Democratic-controlled House if it is brought to a vote.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress