Turkish Groups Resume Lobbying Efforts Against Genocide Bill

WASHINGTON (Hurriyet)–Two groups of Turkish parliamentarians resumed Tuesday their lobbying efforts against the Armenian Genocide resolution that will be voted on Thursday by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Turkish Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission head Murat Mercan said that passing the resolution would be seen by the Turkish public as “inappropriate pressure on Turkey,” warning that “there will be an overwhelming public reaction and outcry [over the ‘genocide’ bill].”

Sukru Elekdag, former Turkish ambassador to the United States and an opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) member said the Armenian issue should not be allowed to have a detrimental effect on U.S.-Turkish relations.

Mithat Melen, Istanbul deputy from the National Movement Party (MHP) also said the passage of the resolution would not only be detrimental to the U.S.-Turkey and Turkey-Armenia relationships, but warned that it would be very bad news for about 50,000 Armenian migrant workers, whom he said live in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, Turkish Parliament U.S. Caucus head Suat Kinikioglu, who led the second Turkish group, also threatened a possible chill in U.S.-Turkish ties and said the partnership between the two countries “should not be marred by events of almost 100 years ago.” He also said the passage of the resolution might “radicalize” an already sensitive debate within Turkey about the future of Turkish-Armenian relations.

“If the resolution passes the House Foreign Affairs Committee, this mutually beneficial cooperation [between Turkey and the US] will be put into immediate jeopardy. That outcome is good for neither Turkey nor the United States,” Mercan warned.

He said the group has not talked to any officials from the U.S. administration yet, and said the place they like to be more involved is with the U.S. Congress, where the vote will be taken. Mercan, did say, however, that the U.S. administration’s role is always important and they still expect the U.S. administration to take a greater role to stop the resolution.

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