US Defense Sec'y decries house 'genocide' vote, expressing concern over Turkish-US cooperation
Expressing regret late last week over a US House committee's labeling the incidents of 1915 as "genocide," US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates voiced concern about the fallout on Turkish-US relations from the US House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution. In a televised interview, Gates was asked whether he was worried, given that Turkey withdrew its ambassador to the US in reaction to the March 4 vote, and that Turkey could threaten to withhold military assistance to the United States. "I am worried about it. I will say that it was just one committee of the House of Representatives that voted on this resolution," Gates replied. "We very strongly feel that the resolution is a mistake," he added. "Turkey and Armenia are making progress toward reconciliation. Protocols have been drafted along those lines. That's the process that we think ought to be used. A resolution of this kind could be very damaging to US-Turkish relations, and we certainly hope that the Congress and the House of Representatives take this measure no further." One day after passage of the resolution, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had urged against it, said, "We are against this decision. Now we believe that Congress won't take any decision on this subject."