Turkish Deputies Lobbying Congress Still Hopeful Genocide Resolution Will Fail

WASHINGTON (Hurriyet)–On the eve of a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on a resolution calling for formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide,Turkish lawmakers in Washington lobbying against the measure still believe the motion will fail to get an endorsement.

A deputy from the opposition ranks, however, says the protocols between Turkey and Armenia are already dead.

WASHINGTON (Hurriyet)–Turkish lawmakers who are in Washington D.C. to lobby against the upcoming Armenian Genocide resolution remain hopeful that a key U.S. House Committee will not give its endorsement to the motion on Thursday, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily reported Wednesday.

The House committee is scheduled to vote on the resolution urging President Barack Obama to ensure U.S. policy recognizes the Armenian Genocide. If the resolution passes the committee, it will then be prepared for a full legislative vote.

Turkish Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission head Murat Mercan told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review that he still sees some positive signals in Washington, making him hopeful ahead of the vote.

He said 24 House representatives had signed a letter urging committee head Howard Berman not to pass the resolution. Mercan said the letter argues a successful passage would be detrimental to both Turkish-American and Turkish-Armenian relationships.

The Turkish deputy further said a statement released by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, or JINSA, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, opposing the resolution was a piece of good news for Turkey.

Turkish Parliament U.S. Caucus head Suat Kiriniklioglu echoed Mercan’s remarks, saying the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia was continuing despite the pending resolution from the committee.

When asked whether it was effective to visit Washington to lobby at the last minute, Kinikoglu said last-minute lobbying could be more effective than generally expected.

“Especially in the U.S. Congress, the members of congress change their minds many times at the very last minute. And we know that there are still committee members who have not made a clear decision over the issue. So we [still] have hope,” he told the Daily News.

When asked whether the resolution could be a tool for the U.S. administration to pressure Turkey on the ratification of the diplomatic protocols signed by the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers in October, Kinikoglu said there was such a possibility.

“Americans are not helping the normalization process with this attitude or this resolution. Turkey wants regional peace in the Caucasus region and the United States could have a great help in this. However, we are wasting time with these resolutions instead of working towards peace in the region,” he said.

Many Turkish officials, meanwhile, are increasingly pessimistic on the future of the protocols. Sukru Elekdag, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) believes the normalization process is “effectively dead.”

Elekdag said the Armenian Constitutional Court’s decision that the protocols could not prevent Yerevan from seeking international recognition of the Armenian Genocide “fundamentally changed the spirit of the protocols.”

Elekdag said the court decision means that“Armenia possesses a position that is irreversible now, and America has vowed that since Armenia cannot reverse its decision, we should utilize the pressure on Turkey to accept it.”

Kiniklioglu, however, still believes the normalization process will continue.

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