Peninsula On-line, Qatar
April 12 2014
Turkey condemns ‘Armenian genocide’ resolution in US Senate
April 12, 2014 – 12:00:00 am
ANKARA: Turkey condemned yesterday a US Senate committee resolution
branding the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War
One as genocide and warned Congress against taking steps that would
harm Turkish-American ties.
The nature and scale of the killings remain highly contentious nearly
a century after they took place.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians died in partisan fighting beginning
in 1915, but denies that up to 1.5 million were killed and that this
constituted an act of genocide – a term used by many Western
historians and foreign parliaments.
The resolution, adopted by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
on Thursday, called “to remember and observe the anniversary of the
Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2014”.
“The President should work toward an equitable, constructive, stable,
and durable Armenian-Turkish relationship that includes the full
acknowledgment by … Turkey of the facts about the Armenian
Genocide,” the text of the resolution said.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the committee had acted beyond its
position, competence and responsibility by adopting a “hastily and
ineptly prepared” draft resolution.
“We reject this attempt at political exploitation that distorts
history and law and we condemn those who led this prejudiced
initiative,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said Turks and Armenians could reach a “just memory of the tragic
1915 events” and that an earlier proposal from Ankara to set up a
joint historical commission remained on the agenda.
Armenia did not take up the Turkish offer because it regards the
genocide as an established historic fact and believes Turkey would use
such a commission to press its own version of events.
“It is essential that the US Congress engages in efforts aimed at
strengthening our historic alliance … instead of damaging
Turkish-American bilateral ties,” it added. Last December, Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made Turkey’s first high-level visit to
Armenia in nearly five years, raising the prospect of a revival in
peace efforts between the historical rivals which stalled in 2010.
The legacy of the killings has remained a major obstacle to reviving
frozen relations between Turkey and its small former Soviet eastern
Armenia accuses the Ottoman authorities at the time of systematically
massacring large numbers of Armenians, then deporting many more,
including women, children and the elderly and infirm in terrible
conditions on so-called death marches.
The issue has long been a source of tension between Turkey and several
Western countries, especially the United States and France, both home
to large ethnic Armenian diasporas.
From: A. Papazian