US-Turkish Group Head Hopeful of Genocide Resolution No Vote

"We have a lot of business with Turkey and we have a lot of prospective business with Turkey, which doesn’t merit being risked on such a resolution. So from the perspective of US interests, the legislation is completely unwanted." WASHINGTON–The head of a key US Turkish business group said he hoped that Armenian Genocide Resolutions pending in US Congress would not be brought to a vote, reported the Turkish Daily News on Thursday. "I’m hopeful that we’ve made significant progress, that the leadership of the Congress will not bring either in the Senate or in the House of Representatives this legislation to the floor for vote," James Holmes, president of the American-Turkish Council (ATC) said in an interview with the newspaper. The paper also quoted the head of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) who indicated Turkey’s fight to stop the passage of the resolutions has gained momentum. "It is more positive than the situation two months ago, but unfortunately we cannot say that the issue is off of the agenda," Arzu Dogan Yalcindag told reporters in Washington. The Resolutions–one in the House of Representatives, the other in Senate–call for official recognition of the Armenian Genocide. There has been a flurry of Turkish meddling in US policy lately, with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit warning US administration officials and even elected lawmakers the "risks"involved in passing the resolutions. Just on Wednesday, Turkish Head of Parliament Bulent Arinc, in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, again warned of that possible fallout. Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in identical letters, urged House members to drop the Genocide legislation, saying its passage would jeopardize US national interests, including a disruption of Turkey’s assistance to US forces operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. "All of this together, I think, has finally begun to have an effect with the members of Congress that this is not a free vote; this is a vote which would have political consequences and commercial consequences and that they need to take greater care in addressing such issues," Holes stressed. "We have a lot of business with Turkey and we have a lot of prospective business with Turkey, which doesn’t merit being risked on such a resolution. So from the perspective of US interests, the legislation is completely unwanted," he said. Qualifying the genocide resolutions as a "black cloud" hovering over U.S–Turkish relations, TUSIAD Chair Arzuhan Yalcindag said that the measures’ passage would very badly affect economic and business ties. "No one will benefit from this," she said. Rejecting Armenian argumen’s that US recognition of genocide would force Turkey into a closer relationship with Armenia, Holmes said: "No one in their right mind could believe that support for this resolution will advance Turkish-Armenian ties." ATC will be holding an annual conference on US-Turkish ties in Washington, DC next week. Participants include Gates, Turkey’s Economy Minister Ali Babacan, Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun and Vice Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Edmund Giambastiani.

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