Turkey presses Obama administration to push against "genocide" resolution
Two parliamentary delegations in Washington, one led by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Murat Mercan and another led by Turkish-US Interparliamentary Friendship Group head Suat Kiniklioglu, yesterday started to urge the Obama administration to make a stronger push against passage by the US House Foreign Relations Committee of a resolution that would recognize the incidents of 1915 as "genocide," warning that its passage would undermine the ongoing rapprochement efforts between Turkey and Armenia, thus endangering stability in the Caucasus. At a press conference at Turkey's Washington Embassy, Mercan said putting the proposed resolution to a full House vote would benefit neither Turkey nor the US but only undermine efforts to ensure peace and stability in the Caucasus. The delegations will try to make US officials and congressmen aware of the extreme harm that passage of the resolution would do to regional peace and stability, Mercan said. Also speaking at the press conference, Kiniklioglu said Turkey expects the Obama administration to use its influence to prevent the resolution from being passed by the full House or both houses of Congress. "Even if the resolution is passed by the House Foreign Relations Committee, this doesn't mean that it can be passed by the full House," he said. "We expect the US administration to put more pressure on the committee members, as it did in 2007." Touching on a recent segment on the popular US news magazine "60 Minutes" which called the incidents of 1915 a "holocaust," Mercan called it "unfortunate," saying that both Turkey and the US Turkish community would register their displeasure. Members of the two delegations are slated to meet with 15 congressmen, including Rep. Howard Berman, the head of the House Foreign Relations Committee, as well as representatives of the media and think-tanks. Ambassador Namik Tan said that they would intensify their efforts against the resolution, and decried its timing.