Monday, October 15, 2007 at 11:12 AM

U.S. Congress set to condemn Turkey for disputed Armenian genocide

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

[Or why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems hell-bent on competing with Bush to see who can do most damage to U.S. ties with the Muslim world! ]One of the most salient and strategic blunders of the war in Iraq is the extent to which it has incited ill-will throughout the Muslim world towards the United States. Therefore, the last thing one would expect the Democratically-controlled Congress to do is pass a resolution that is bound to exacerbate that ill-will. Yet, that’s exactly what it is poised to do.For decades, the U.S. has lauded Turkey as a NATO ally (even more reliable than France), and as a decidedly pro-Western Muslim country that shares its democratic values.(Notwithstanding the Pope’s disavowed edict that Turkey does not share European values. Or French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s specious insistence that it does not belong in Europe “simply because it’s in Asia Minor”.)Of course, it also happens to be home to the Incirlik Air Base, which serves as a strategic logistics and transfer center for American military operations in Iraq. And, despite Turkey’s public disagreements with successive U.S. governments over America’s foreign policy initiatives in places like Cyprus, Israel, and even Iraq, there has never been any doubt about the solvency of their bilateral relationship.In fact, just weeks ago – in an interview with Charlie Rose of PBS – Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declared that there are no problems at all between their two countries; and, moreover, that he’s determined to strengthen and broaden the ties that bind the U.S. and Turkey.But now Turkey’s political leaders and, more troubling, its military generals are warning of irreparable harm and dire consequences – if Congress passes a resolution condemning Turkey for the alleged genocide of 1.5 million Armenians during WWI. These could include disrupting critical operations at Incirlik and disregarding America’s standing request to refrain from engaging Kurdish ‘terrorists’ across the border in Northern Iraq. And frankly, the national offense they have taken over the mere thought of this resolution is entirely justified!(Not to mention that passing it could force Turkey into the camp of committed anti-American Muslim nations for generations to come.)

Indeed, never mind that even the diplomatically-challenged George W. Bush has decried this pending resolution as an egregious insult to a desperately needed and remarkably loyal ally. And never mind that it arrogates to American politicians the presumptuous role of judge and jury on a contentious matter that Turkish politicians themselves are still trying to resolve.

Because, even if the genocide at issue is an historical fact (and I’ve read enough to believe that it is), the U.S. has no compelling interest in passing this political resolution. Especially when Congress could be debating far more constructive measures to help Bush stop the genocides now unfolding in Darfur and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, it’s instructive to note that when Rose began thanking him for the interview referenced above, Prime Minister Edogan begged for a little more time to assure the American people that, despite longstanding resistance, his government now welcomes a thorough examination of this festering historical wound. And, moreover, that if the facts conclude that a genocide was committed, then he is prepared to accept full responsibility on behalf of all Turks.

In fact, here, in part, is what he said:

This issue is not first and foremost an issue for us politicians to deal with. It must first be discussed by historians….[I have proposed to the president of Armenia that we set up a joint commission of inquiry] that will be composed of archaeologists, political scientists, legal experts, historians….

Because if there is, has been a crime, we are ready to settle our accounts with our history….Let’s move forward with this. Why should we be afraid? Why should anyone be afraid? Why are they [the Armenians] afraid? Where are their documents [proving this genocide was perpetrated]?

You cannot have this accusation without facts. The lobby [for Armenia in Washington] cannot be sufficient to judge a country like Turkey.

So why is Congress going ahead with this resolution, which is scheduled for a floor vote “sometime before November 15”, despite the clear and present damage it poses?(Not to mention the absurdity of its members making a proclamation about events that occurred during World War I, when the vast majority of the people they represent barely know what occurred during World War II.)Alas, the reason is as venal and simplistic as the prime minister insinuated.After all, despite being “strongly urged” against it by a bipartisan group of former Secretaries of State, including Madeleine K. Albright, James A. Baker III, Warren Christopher, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Alexander M. Haig Jr., Henry A. Kissinger, Colin L. Powell and George P. Shultz, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful and influential member of Congress, is determined to whip up support amongst clueless Democrats to pass this resolution.And she’s doing so merely to honor an old campaign pledge to the “persuasive” Armenian lobby that represents a critical mass of Armenian-American voters in her home state of California.
Accordingly, as far as Pelosi is concerned, U.S. military interest in, and political goodwill towards, Turkey be damned. Because the undying will of California’s Armenians to settle this historic score, at least in the U.S. Congress, must be done…?Meanwhile, recall that Pelosi and the Democrats won control of Congress last year – in large measure – by promising to make amends throughout the Muslim world for Bush’s “cowboy diplomacy”.Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.Related Articles:
Turkish novelist, Elif Shafak, being prosecuted for writing about Armenia genocide
Politically-incorrect Turkish novelist, Orhan Pamuk, wins Nobel Prize
Nancy Pelosi elected Speaker of the U.S. Congress
Save Darfur, but what about Zimbabwe,


  1. Muslims Against Sharia October 16, 2007 at 4:55 am

    Muslims Against Sharia commend House Democrats and Speaker Pelosi for pressing ahead with an Armenian genocide bill. Republican opposition to the bill is pure manifestation of moral relativism.
    Muslims Against Sharia condemn Turkish government for refusing to acknowledge Armenian genocide and recalling its US ambassador in response to the bill.

    Source: AFP

  2. Alex October 25, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Good point. And what do you think of, for example, Shoher’s attitude like here ?

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