U.S., Turkey ease strains over Armenian "genocide" bill

13:08, April 03, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The United States and Turkey saw their strains over the Armenian "genocide" resolution ease Friday as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a planned trip to Washington for a nuclear summit and the decision to send Turkish ambassador back to the U.S. capital.

The thaw came after a phone talk between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu late Sunday, an attempt to smooth over tensions caused by the adoption of a resolution passed by a U.S. congressional panel last month that recognizes the World War I-era deaths of Armenians under Ottoman rule as "genocide."

In the phone conversation, Clinton assured the White House opposition to the resolution, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.

The phone talk was a positive signal, Erdogan told reporters after a meeting in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday.

"I hope these positive developments will continue during my visit," he was quoted by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News as saying.

Angry at the resolution, Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States Namik Tan immediately and warned such acts could harm bilateral relations and the ongoing normalization process with Armenia.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and are bogged down in a long-time row over the killings of Armenians during the World War I, which Armenia brands as a genocide. Turkey strongly denies that.

In response to a question whether U.S. President Barack Obama will host a meeting between him and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during the Washington summit in mid-April, Erdogan said Friday he would hold talks on the sidelines of the summit and hinted at discussions about the Armenian issue.

"The nuclear issue is not the only topic on the agenda. There are many other issues to discuss," he said.

At the coming International Nuclear Security Summit, the U.S. administration is expected to rally up support for new sanctions on Iran. Turkey has called for a diplomatic solution, though, saying previous rounds of sanctions failed to work.

Turkey will be more reluctant to cooperate with the United States in such Middle East hot spots as Afghanistan and Iran if the resolution makes further progress in the U.S. House of Representatives or Barack Obama names the Armenian deaths as genocide, political analyst Sedat Laciner told Xinhua in Ankara.

"The United States should understand that if it needs Turkey, it has to be more polite," said Laciner, director of the International Strategic Research Organization.

He attributed the U.S. House panel's vote for the "genocide" resolution to coming U.S. mid-term elections this fall and strong lobbying from the Armenian diaspora in Washington.

Turkey has argued the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the Ottoman Empire collapsed before modern Turkey was founded in 1923.

Obama is expected to make a speech about the Armenian issue on April 24, the anniversary of the start of the killings commemorated by Armenians.

In last year's speech, Obama refrained from the word "genocide", referring to the incident as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century."

How far Washington goes is affected by both lawmakers' attention to Armenian voters and Turkey's strategic importance to the country at the state level, said Mustafa Aydin, director of the International Policy Research Institute of Ankara-based think tank Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.

A similar resolution supporting Armenia's "genocide" claim was adopted by the same U.S. House panel in 2007 but was not brought to the House floor because of opposition from former President George W. Bush.

Aydin said Turkey's strategic importance to the United States is even more heightened this year as Washington looks to Turkey's support in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

"So this year I think President Obama will definitely intervene in the level of the congress floor, and I don't think it (the resolution) will come to the voting in fact," he predicted.

He also believed Obama will repeat much of his line in this April's speech and not change his wording of the Armenian deaths to "genocide" "in the next four years."

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:赵晨雁)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Actors perform royal dance at the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Sept. 27, 2011. A ceremony commemorating the 38th South Korea Sightseeing Day was held in Gyeongbok Palace on Tuesday. (Xinhua/He Lulu)
  • Actress Huang Jieqiong performs at the opening ceremony of the Second Ecological and Cultural Tourism Festival in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, central China's Hubei Province, Sept. 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Hao Tongqian)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 27, 2011 shows the Erqi Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province. The two sections of the bridge were joined on Tuesday. The seventh cross-Yangtze River bridge of Wuhan City is the largest three-tower cable-stayed bridge with 616 meters of main span. The bridge is expected to be put into operation in the end of 2011. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)
  • Members of civil organizations who oppose laws that allow voluntary abortion, participate in a protest in front of the Supreme Court in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on Sept. 26, 2011. The Supreme Court began on Monday a debate on a constitutional reform in the states of Baja California and San Luis Potosi, which establish the beginning of the right to life during conception, contradicting the federal constitution. (Xinhua/Claudio Cruz)
  • Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the China Today Art Week in Malmo, Sweden, Sept. 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Liu Yinan)
  • ATP top 1 and UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia Novak Djokovic plays with children at kindergarten "Brownie" in Smederevo, central Serbia, on Sept. 26, 2011. The kindergarten is specialized for children with disabilities and refugees. Djokovic was appointed as a UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia last August. (Xinhua/Vladimir Gogic)
Hot Forum Discussion