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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
26 October 2007 - ERAREN
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!âJĞellspacing="0" ceÿÇ A WIND OF CHANGEÇ

According to certain press releases, putting  House Resolution 106 to a vote has been shelved for this year. As Congress is going on recess, it is probable that this resolution, recognizing the Armenian genocide allegations, may come up for a vote in January. However for this to materialize a shakeup in the current state of affairs must take place.

¥he current state of affairs must take place.

It was surmised that Resolution 106 would be adopted as it was sponsored by 227 representatives of the lower house (more than the majority of the total 435 representatives) and as the Armenian community comprises a significant fraction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s electorate that she would schedule a vote on the resolution  at the earliest opportunity. That the House of Foreign Affairs Committee approved the resolution 27 to 21 on October 10, 2007 worked to strengthen the appraisal that it was set to pass the house floor.

However, upon the U.S. media having to a great extent endorsed the warnings issued by President Bush, Secretary of State Rice and Defense Minister Gates that  the adoption of this resolution could impede the reinforcement of soldiers and in fact could present a threat to their security, a number of representatives of the lower house stated that they withdrew their support for this resolution. With the attainment of a majority vote necessary for the adoption of this resolution becoming suspect, it appears that it will be kept off the house floor for now. However, to retain the possibility of putting the resolution to a vote at any time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not issued a statement to the effect that the resolution has been withdrawn or that the vote has been deferred to a later date.

As such, the so-called Armenian genocide resolution has been linked to the security of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and as long as Turkey’s support for this is needed, it appears that the resolution in question shall not be put to a vote. Although this is in Turkey’s benefit, the way in which this situation came about is not something Turkey favored. This is the case as Turkey desires that the resolution is not put to a vote or is rejected as a result of how it does not reflect historical truth, and not as a result of the possibility that it may endanger the security of U.S. soldiers.

That the resolution was not immediately put to a vote has lead to disillusionment among certain Armenian organizations based in the U.S. who have exerted great efforts for it to be adopted. Another source of disillusionment has been the European Parliament’s resolution on Turkey  adopted on October 24. Despite all efforts exerted on the part of the Armenians and despite the official contacts made by President Kocharian and Foreign Minister Oskanian in Brussels, the European Parliament rejected the amendments to this resolution  (written by Oomen-Ruijten) sought for on the part of Armenian circles.  A proposed amendment calling for the recognition of the Armenian “genocide” was rejected by a vote of 309 to 260 and reference to the European Parliament’s first resolution in this regard of 1987 was rejected by a vote of 408 to 176. As such, the Armenian strategy of making the recognition of the Armenian “genocide” a precondition for Turkey’s accession to the EU has failed. However, as the European Parliament has formerly set this as precondition, it is likely that in the event that Turkey adopts policies disapproved of the Parliament may adopt new resolutions to this effect. 

That Resolution 106 has not been brought  to the House floor at this stage and that Armenian demands were not included in the European Parliament’s resolution shows that Turkey’s lot may be changing when considering its past run of  experiences vis a via the Armenian Question. It appears to be an opportune time to better convey Turkey’s views in this regard.

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