Saturday, June 25, 2016


News / From Our Bureaus

Turkey Slams U.S. Over Armenian Genocide Bill

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (right) and his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian shake hands after a signing ceremony on fence-mending agreements in Zurich in October.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (right) and his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian shake hands after a signing ceremony on fence-mending agreements in Zurich in October.
YEREVAN -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has denounced a U.S. Congressional committee for scheduling a meeting to review a resolution about the Armenian genocide, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Davutoglu said over the weekend that passage of the resolution would seriously harm Turkey's relations with both the United States and Armenia.

He also suggested that Washington is using the prospect of the resolution's passage by the U.S. House of Representatives to force Turkey to ratify its fence-mending agreements with Armenia.

Davutoglu also accused Yerevan of hampering progress in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Congressional resolution, which was introduced by U.S. lawmakers one year ago, urges President Barack Obama to "accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians [in the Ottoman Empire] as genocide."

Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on February 5 that the panel will review the text of the resolution in early March. The legislative action comes less than two months before the 95th anniversary of the start of the mass killings and deportations of Armenians.

Turkey vehemently condemned similar bills passed by the committee but which were never put to a full vote in Congress's lower house in the past.

Armenian officials, meanwhile, signaled today their satisfaction with the progress of the "genocide resolution."

When asked by RFE/RL to comment on the planned vote, an Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman cited statements on the issue made by President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian in recent months.

Sarkisian said in an October address to the nation that the Armenian genocide "must be recognized and condemned by the entire progressive humanity."

Nalbandian, for his part, told RFE/RL last month that Armenia "will never cast doubt on the importance of international recognition of the genocide."