Turkish Prime Minister Says U.S. Vote To ‘Greatly Harm’ Ties

ANKARA (Reuters)—Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned that a U.S. resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide Monday, endorsed by the House Foreign Affairs committee on March 4, will seriously damage U.S. Turkish relations.

Turkey has expressed its outrage at Thursday’s non-binding vote in the key House committee and recalled its envoy to the United States for consultations.

“The decision of the Foreign Affairs Committee will not hurt Turkey, but it will greatly harm bilateral relations, interests and vision. Turkey will not be the one who loses,” said Erdogan, speaking at a summit of Turkish businessmen.

The Obama administration made a last-minute appeal against the resolution and has vowed to stop the vote, which was broadcast live on Turkish television, from going further in Congress. A Democratic leadership aide told Reuters Friday there were no plans “at this point” to schedule a vote of the full House on the measure, and a State Department official said this was the administration’s understanding as well.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, facing questions about the issue while traveling in Latin America, declared Congress should drop the matter now. “The Obama administration strongly opposes the resolution that was passed by only one vote in the House committee and will work very hard to make sure it does not go to the House floor,” she said in Guatemala City.

Turkey has said the resolution could jeopardize a fragile drive by Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations and lead to further instability in the south Caucasus, a region crisscrossed by oil and gas pipelines to Europe. Turkey’s ambassador to the United States told journalists upon his return on Saturday it was unclear when he would head back to Washington following his talks with the president, prime minister and foreign minister.

“I will return when the time is right … We will have to wait and see,” Namik Tan said. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted in a media report as saying that the consultations could last “a long time.”

The resolution calls on Obama to ensure U.S. policy formally refers to the massacre as “genocide” and to use that term when he delivers his annual message on the issue in April — something Obama avoided doing last year.

Pro-Turkish analysts say the vote may alienate it at a time when there are concerns that its warmer ties with Syria, Iran and Russia, could herald a shift away from its traditional Western allies. Commentators had said the bill could affect Washington’s use of the Incirlik air base in southeast Turkey. Though Turkey denied US forces access to the base in the run-up to the Iraq war, commentators still claim it is vital in logistical support for U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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5 Comments

  1. Arman said:

    Turkey will not be the one who loses???? Hmmmm…..it should come as no surprise that the Turks are not used to losing and have no intention of losing…..they are used to conquering many nations and ruling them and oppressing them and making their Turkish Empire that straddles continents. They are used to calling other peoples giaour infidels and counting them as so many sheep or cattle. They are used to committing great crimes and getting away with them. They are used to indulging in great atrocities because they know other countries will turn a blind eye. But they are not used to losing eh? I think the time has come for Turkey to start getting used to losing. I think the time has come for Turkey to learn to pay for its crimes. And if one day a generation of Turks is born who will have the human intelligence required to understand that Turkey will actually gain and not lose, by paying for its crimes, then that would be a great day indeed.

  2. Zareh said:

    With a powerful ally like the US administration any imbecile will look like a winner. Erdogan however is not an imbecile but a very calculating professional politician, you cannot blame him for using the cards he has been given. I do believe though in his deck of cards he also has a joker, and the US will be using it to trump Erdogan’s hands. Protocols might actually be ratified after all, wait till Sarkisian makes another friendly gesture towards Turkey or Azerbaijan.

  3. Grish Begian said:

    What a shame for these stupid leaders call themselves Turkish leaders…where are those Turkish intellectuals?
    Why they are hiding themselves??

    How these leaders can cover up a Genocide and go to European Union and talk against Israelis or others, where their own dark history is in their “road map”.

  4. Darian said:

    Erdogans wrong. Lets get this Genocide over with so we can try to be friends and get some business going between our countries and resolve the Cypress mess too, so the Greeks could get some closure- because they’re not too happy No one in Turkey today is directly responsible (except deniers like Erdogan). Lets not “write-off” an eI’ntire culture. I’ve heard that the AKP party is a direct extension of the “young Turks” who commited the genocide-so what would you expect from him?

  5. hrair said:

    I would like to see a day when the ANC will propose a resolution to have the gov. of turkey and the turkish people apologize for crimes they committed against the Saudi, Palestinian, Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese people. in addition, to the genocide they committed against the Armenians, Assyrians, Caldeans, Greeks, and the Circassians who were deported to Jordan. Especially the ongoing genocide against the Kurds within Kurdistan (SE turkey) and Iraq.

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