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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
29 March 2007 - ERAREN
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The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations adopted, with a few amendments, a draft resolution condemning the murder of Hrant Dink and requesting the abolition of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code as well as the establishment of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

z as the establishment of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

In light of the Senate’s interest divested in the Hrant Dink murder one may ask why such incidents taking place in other parts of the world, terrorist activities or the several lives claimed each day in Iraq have not equally been condemned. Also, since the Committee on Foreign Relations draft could become binding upon its subsequent adoption by the Senate, if the aim of the said resolution is condemnation then  it appears to have come too little too late.

However, when examined closely it can be surmised that this resolution is, in effect, an attempt to entail upon the Senate issues other than that of Hrant Dinks’s murder by taking advantage of the commotion this incident generated.

Surely amongst these issues are the Armenian genocide allegations. The draft resolution states that Hrant Dink was prosecuted on the basis of Article 301 for having spoken upon the Armenian ‘genocide’. The extent to which this is true is open to debate. However, what is of grave concern with respect to this draft is how the expression ‘Armenian genocide’ was tactfully incorporated into the text with the hopes that it would be overlooked.  Had the draft been accepted as such, this would have lead the Armenian Diaspora to advance that the U.S. recognized the Armenian ‘genocide’ which, in turn, would cause great turbulence. However, this unsophisticated course of action did not fool anyone. Incorporation of the said expression was rejected. It was as a result of Senator Richard Lugar’s initiative that the draft was amended to state that Hrant Dink was prosecuted due having referred to the Armenian massacre as a genocide. Only thereafter was the draft resolution adopted and brought before the house floor.

If we were to resort to an agenda of propaganda like the Armenian militants, we would advance that the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations does not accept the Armenian genocide allegations and views the said incidents merely as a massacre.

The calls for Turkey to establish diplomatic, political and economic relations with Armenia incorporated into the operative section of the draft are also not related to Hrant Dinks’s murder. These are the demands of Armenia which, in essence, are equally espoused by the American Government. In principle, Turkey is not against establishing relations with Armenia; she simply requests that prior to doing so, Armenia pull out of the Azeri territories illegally occupied. Otherwise, establishing relations would translate into assenting to this occupation leaving Azerbaijan in the lurch and dooming the Karabagh problem to a stalemate.   

That the resolution was amended such that less harm would come of it, does not translate into how our troubles that await us at the U.S. Congress have come to an end. There remains two further draft resolutions at the House of Representatives taking advantage of the commotion the Hrant Dink murder generated. However, of greater concern are the drafts introduced in both houses of Congress concerning the Armenian genocide allegations.

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