Turks Mount Opposition to Genocide Resolution

ISTANBUL (Marmara)–The Turkish lobby has increased its efforts to defeat H.Res 398–the Armenian Genocide resolution pending a hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill. Adding its voice to the opposition is the US military industrial complex–which–according to Anatolia News Agency–through the Turkish American Council has mounted a massive effort to defeat the bill.

ATC president Lincoln McCurdy dispatched a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill)–pointing out that if the Genocide Resolution were to pass the House–US-Turkish relations would be jeopardized. McCurdy added that Turkey–on numerous occasions–has proved to be a reliable ally of the US–thus if H.Res398 were to pass Congress–it would damage relations between major US corporations doing business with the Turkish government and Turkey.

Some of the noted US Corporations that are members of the American Turkish Council include–Lockheed-Martin–Boeing–Raytheon–General Dynamics–United Defense–Sikorsky Aircraft and others.

McCurdy pointed out that if Turkey alienates itself from these businesses because of the passage of the Genocide bill–it would then turn to the European and Asian markets.

A reporter from the Anatolia News Agency interviewed several officials from the aforementioned companies who have also voiced their opposition to the Genocide resolution pending in Congress.

The Anatolia News Agency provided a listing of agreemen’s signed between the government of Turkey and major US corporations. They are as follows:

* $4.5 billion attack helicopter sale with Bell;

* $2 million contract with Boeing and Raytheon for remote intelligence gathering aircraft;

* $500 million contract with Sikorsky Aircraft. for cargo helicopters;

* $600 million negotiations for sale of tanks with United Defense Corp.

* 1 billion plan for modernization of Turkey’s M-60 defense system with General Dynamics. Other US companies have bid for the project;

* 7 billion tank manufacturing program with General Dynamics.

Anatolia reported that other major defense contracts are also in the works with the Turkish government by the US military industrial complex.

Meanwhile–in stepping up his opposition to the Genocide resolution–Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem warned Secretary of State Madeline Albright that passage of the Genocide resolution would "poison US-Turkey relations."

The Genocide resolution received renewed impetus last month when Speaker Hastert–during an appearance in Glendale–pledged his support for a vote on the resolution in the 106th Congress–which ends its session on Oct. 6.

House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and House Democratic Whip David Bonior (D-Mich.) both dispatched letters to Hastert urging the Speaker for an immediate vote on the resolution. Both leaders asked the Speaker about the reasons for delays in addressing the bill–which was introduced in the House last year.

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