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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
18 January 2007 - ERAREN
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="justify">According to media sources a draft resolution concerning the Armenian genocide allegations is about to be presented to the House of Representatives. There exists a high probability that this resolution will be ratified.

Due to the fact that the draft resolution has not yet been made public, the information about its contents is not readily available. However, it can be discerned that resolution number H. Res. 316, ratified by the House International Relations Committee by a vote of 40-7, is to be presented without any amendments in order to preclude drawn out deliberations.

What is incorporated in resolution H. Res. 316?

It begins by presenting a lengthy section entitled “Findings” in order to provide introductory background information on the subject. Essentially recapping the standard Armenian position, this section includes certain assertions which draw particular attention. For example it states that while 2,000,000 Armenians were deported during the Armenian “genocide” 1,500,000 of them were killed and 500,000 were expelled from their homes. These numbers border on the fantastical and they are not set forth even by certain Armenian historians. Also the resolution presents a list of countries that have archives proving the existence of the Armenian “genocide” but in doing so, for some reason, it makes no mention of the existence of the Ottoman archives. The resolution also refers to how both the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96 (1) on genocide and the UN Genocide Convention recognizes “the Armenian Genocide as the type of crime the United Nations intended to prevent and punish…”. However, it should be noted that there is no such reference to be found in these documents.

In the “Declaration of Policy” section, the resolution stipulates two issues.

Firstly, it calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects an appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. In other words the resolution alludes to a lack of understanding by the President and US foreign policy pertaining to the above mentioned issues.

Secondly, the President is called upon to candidly use the term “genocide” in his address delivered in April of every year. In the past both Presidents Clinton and Bush, whilst using synonymous words, have refrained from using the term “genocide” in consideration of Turkish sensitivities on the matter.

How binding will this draft resolution be if it is ratified?

It should be noted the principle of sovereignty denotes that any resolution taken by a foreign body is not binding in regards to Turkey -or any other nation for that matter.

In this sense it is highly unlikely that such a resolution would have any legally binding effect in the United States. The resolution in question does not have the ‘power of law’. For the draft resolution to become law it requires that it also pass the Senate and be signed by the President.

While the resolution in question has no legal meaning its cumulative effect fortifies the inherent belief in the Armenian “genocide” present amongst western public opinion, encourages other countries to take such resolutions, furthers the uncompromising attitude of Armenia against Turkey, compromises the academic credibility of studies on the subject conducted in Turkey and makes a political solution to the issue difficult.

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