WASHINGTON (Combined Sources)—On Friday, Oct. 23, Turkey’s Ambassador to the U.S. Nabi Sensoy, appearing on a Voice of America television news segment on the recent Senate introduction of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, cited the newly signed Turkey-Armenia protocols as a reason for his government’s intensifying campaign to block U.S. recognition of this crime against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Responding to a question on this legislation, the Turkish envoy stressed: “I hope that there will be no progress on this issue. I don’t think it was the right time to take this step since the resolution was introduced immediately after the signing of the Turkey-Armenia protocols. It is wrong and sad. I am hopeful that it [the resolution] will not reach the [Senate] floor.”
Earlier this week, Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) introduced the Senate version of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res.316). The House version, introduced earlier this year, has over 130 co-sponsors. House resolution lead sponsors Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and George Radanovich (R-Calif.) commended their Senate colleagues in a statement issued on Oct. 22, saying, “The United States has a moral obligation to recognize the heinous acts of genocide and all human rights abuses that have occurred. Without that recognition we are doomed to repeat the atrocities of the past.”
“We were hoping that Obama, like previous presidents, would not use the word ‘genocide’ in his April 24 speech, and this is what happened,” Sensoy said, adding that he did not think that “Obama will use such a ‘controversial’ phrase, given that the two sides have made an agreement and declared that they will deal specifically with this issue in some way or other.”
Sensoy also discussed how Ankara’s negotiations with Yerevan relate to regional issues, including relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan and the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“We believe in the first place that it would be extremely beneficial to divert Turkish-Armenian relations into a new channel with these protocols,” he said. “We think that this will prove useful not only to the bilateral relationship between Turkey and Armenia, but also in terms of making positive contributions to the peace, stability and security in the South Caucasus, especially in the region rife with ‘frozen problems.’”
“Turkey can never be expected to launch or support any move that will not be in favor of our Azerbaijani sisters and brothers. Thus, our Azerbaijani sisters and brothers can rest assured that we will always continue to keep their interests a priority at all times,” he said, referring to preconditions put forth by Turkey that Armenia must resolve the Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan before borders can be opened. “We have already made this clear with statements made by authorities at the highest level.”
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, who was interviewed by Voice of America’s Aram Vanetsyan for this segment, cited the broad-based support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution from President Barack Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during their years in the Senate.
Responding to reports that the Turkey-Armenia protocols would harm international Armenian Genocide affirmation efforts, Hamparian explained that Turkey entered into negotiations with Armenia not because of any charitable impulse, but, rather, because of its desire to derail the growing pressure of Armenians worldwide in isolating Ankara’s bankrupt campaign of denial. Armenian Americans will, Hamparian said, continue to press, assertively, powerfully, and effectively for a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide.