[JURIST] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] said Monday that he views a decision by US lawmakers to postpone debate [JURIST report] on a resolution [HR 106 materials; text] labeling as genocide the World War I-era killings of over one million Armenians by Turkish soldiers [ANCA backgrounder] with "cautious optimism." Erdogan commented Monday after talks with US President George W. Bush, thanking the Bush administration and House members who opposed the bill. Turkey has long objected [JURIST comment] to any attempts to classify the 1915 Armenian killings as genocide. Several other countries - including France, Canada and Argentina - have nonetheless passed laws or resolutions [BBC backgrounder] to that effect.
The proposed legislation was approved by the House Foreign Relations Committee last month and was expected to reach the floor [JURIST reports] before Congress recessed for the year. Four of the bill's primary supporters sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressing concern over the possibility of the resolution failing a House vote amid apprehension over the resolution's effect on US-Turkey relations. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month told Congress that the resolution could "severely harm" US-Turkish relations [JURIST report]. AFP has more.