ISTANBUL (Turkish Daily News)–Turkey needs a plan B in the likelihood the US Congress passes a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide under a new administration, said campaign advisors for the presidential candidates of both US political parties Monday.
Richard Burt, campaign advisor to presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, and Philip Gordon, campaign advisor to presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, discussed the implications of a Republican or Democratic victory for Turkish-American relations at a panel organized by the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) and the Brookings Institute.
Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s top presidential candidate, has pledged to recognize the World War I-era killings of Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire as "genocide" if elected president, as did Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Gordon advised the Turkish government to have a plan B on the Genocide resolution issue. Marc Parris, a former American ambassador to Ankara, argued that Democrats will become stronger in Congress and said the Turkish government should be prepared.
Meanwhile, a US administration under Obama will be more sensitive to developmen’s in Turkish democracy compared to an administration under McCain, which may be inclined to give less importance to idealist values and care more about national interests, said Gordon. “It will be hard to overlook steps that did not look democratic,” he added.
Both Gordon and Burt said the United States will be less interventionist and will consult more with its allies, which will require its allies to commit more to solving world problems themselves.
“You will not hear McCain saying, "You are either with us or not,’” said Burt.
A McCain administration will try harder to consult with its allies but in return will expect greater cooperation from them, including Turkey,” said Burt, a former official from the US State Department. Whereas Burt argued that both Democrats and Republicans see Turkey as a traditional ally.
Gordon said the new administration will have to devise a new policy on Turkey and cannot afford to continue overlooking Turkey in favor of other priorities.