Turkish official urges US House not to pass resolution on Armenian genocide

Turkish official urges US House not to pass resolution on Armenian genocide

[JURIST] A US House of Representatives resolution labeling the World War I-era killings of over one million Armenians by Turkish soldiers [ANI backgrounder; Turkish DC Embassy backgrounder] as genocide would strain diplomatic ties between the US and Turkey, Turkish head of Parliament Koksal Toptan warned in a letter to US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Sunday. Toptan warned that passage of the resolution [H Res 106 materials; PDF text] would cause damage that may take years to mend.

US President George W. Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] spoke by phone Friday about their concerns over the resolution [JURIST report]. The controversial measure [JURIST news archive; JURIST comment] seems poised to get enough votes in the Democratic-led House to pass when it comes up for a vote the week, but a White House spokesperson has said that Bush believed the matter to be one "for historical inquiry, not legislation." Interest groups on both sides of the debate have been ratcheting up lobbying efforts [AP report] in anticipation of a House vote on the resolution. Turkey has traditionally been highly sensitive to the Armenian issue and has fervently refused to categorize [JURIST report] its own actions as genocide. AP has more.