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Experts: U.S. Congress is unlikely to adopt resolution on "Armenian genocide"

03 March 2010 [12:17] - TODAY.AZ
The U.S. Congress is unlikely to pass a resolution on the so-called "Armenian genocide", as it will negatively affect the Washington-Ankara relations and negate all the efforts of the United States to normalize the Turkish-Armenian relations, experts say.

"I do not think the U.S Congress will pass a genocide resolution with the president's signature because such an attempt to legislate history might help defeat what the US wants - Turkey and Armenia should pursue a settlement of their ancient quarrel by implementing the two protocols," American Expert on Turkey Michael Gunter believes.

U.S. Congress International Relations Commission Chairman Howard Berman proposed to submit the issue for consideration March 4.

Armenia claims that the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915.  Making greater efforts to promote the issue internationally, Armenians have achieved its recognition by parliaments of some countries.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to the U.S. Congress. The letter states the consideration of so-called "Armenian genocide" will negatively influence the peace in the South Caucasus region. Consideration of so-called, "Armenian genocide" by the U.S. Congress will be a blow to the Turkish-American relations and Turkey hopes that the U.S. Congress won't consider the question of the Armenian genocide, the letter says.

Turkish Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Murat Mercan said that the discussion of the 1915 events in the U.S. Congress would damage Turkish-American relations.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that submission for consideration of the bill on the so-called, "Armenian genocide" March 4 by the U.S. Congress's Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Howard Berman is not accidental and planned by Armenia.

He said that for some reason, when Ankara announced the protocols' signing in August there was no pressure. According to him, someone is trying to convince Ankara of something it did not commit.

Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocols in Zurich Oct. 10.

Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey have been broken due to Armenia's claims of an alleged genocide, and its occupation of Azerbaijani lands. The border between them has been broken since 1993.

According to observers, the U.S. is unlikely to adopt such a controversial document, as it will affect its relations with Turkey.

In previous years, the US congress has been extremely active in pressing US Administrations into recognizing the 1915 events as Genocide. This has played out in the wider foreign policy calculations of the United States in the Middle East, namely in its relations with Israel and now more clearly in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Turkey's support is crucial, European Expert on Caucasus Licinia Simao said.

According to American expert on Iran Mark N. Katz, it is likely that the resolution on the so-called "genocide" of Armenians would be adopted by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

"But will the resolution then be passed by the House of Representatives as a whole? But will the Senate also pass the resolution?  In my view, this is highly unlikely--if only because it is very difficult for the Senate to pass anything that is controversial," Politics Professor at the Public and International Affairs Department at George Mason University Mark Katz wrote Trend News in an e-mail.

How this affects US-Turkish relations depends on how Turkey reacts, Katz said. "If both the House and the Senate pass the resolution, US-Turkish relations are highly likely to be negatively affected.  But this, I believe, is highly unlikely," he added.

Turkey may react negatively if just the House Foreign Affairs Committee passes the measure, he said. "I would hope not, but if it does, this will actually increase the chances that the full House and perhaps even the Senate will also approve the measure," Katz added.

Turkish Foreign Ministry's Eurasian Division Head Mehmet Fatih Ceylan said that it is difficult to predict whether the U.S Congress will take a resolution on the so-called "genocide" of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. Even if it happens, it does not mean that the U.S. government will put its signature under the document, he said.

"However, the just of consideration of the document in the U.S. Congress - is not the most friendly move by the United States to Turkey, and if it would be adopted by the Congress, it will be a severe blow to the American -Turkish relations," he told Trend News over the telephone. "Presently, Turkey occupies the position of expectations. We are waiting for action from the American side. "

Armenian Turkologist Artak Shakaryan believes Turkey has a certain approach to the adoption of the resolution on the Armenian genocide by the Congress.

According to him, some believe that if the U.S. passes a resolution, and Obama will deliver on April 24, the term "genocide", the United States will lose this leverage on Turkey.

According to experts, the adoption of the resolution on the so-called "Armenian genocide" could have a negative impact not only on the U.S-Turkish relations, but also on the Turkish-Armenian settlement.

"I have seen commentary about how re-introducing the Armenian genocide resolution in the House may be intended to pressure the Turkish Parliament into ratifying the Turkish-Armenian Protocols," Katz said. "In my view, though, House approval of the Armenian genocide resolution would make Turkish parliamentary approval of the Turkish-Armenian Protocols less likely."

Gunter believes the U.S interference at this time would not help, but actually hinder this promising process. Passing a genocide resolution will hurt the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.

The Turkish-Armenian protocols might indeed be running into trouble, not only because of the U.S Congress moves, but because both Turkey and Armenia seem not to be ready to take the next step, Simao believes.

"In my view, although the protocols should advance without pre-conditions, a sensitive reading of the domestic pressures is necessary in both capitals, making concessions that would allow the original spirit of the protocols to survive," Expert on South Caucasian countries, fellow of University of Coimbra, Simao said.

This could have positive impacts in regional security, beyond the U.S Congress ability to overturn them. In fact, that would maintain U.S engaged in the process, the expert said.

/Trend News/

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