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Genocide resolution closer

Lawmakers wary of Turkey cozying up to Iran could sway recognition.

June 19, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

"There are no links between these historical incidents and what happened in Gaza and the U.N. Security Resolution," Tekin said. "If you are making a decision on a historical debate, it has to be made based on the parameters of that debate."

Tekin also charged U.S. representatives with using a double standard, and urged them not to meddle in Turkish-Armenian relations.

"Turkish-American relations are too strong. We share a lot of strategic relationships," he said. "If they want to deal with the issue of Armenia and Turkey, rather than passing a one-sided resolution, they should focus on moving forward with the [protocol] process."

Turkey denies that mass killings carried out between 1915 and 1923 were genocide. But most historians — and many governments — agree that the Ottoman Empire carried out a campaign that led to the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians.

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For too long, Schiff said, the U.S. has crumbled under the weight of Turkey's political bullying, but now, at least 144 U.S. representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the genocide resolution.

Rep. Peter King (R-New York) said at the news conference Wednesday in Washington that he and many colleagues believed there was a genocide of Armenians, but so far have been reluctant to support the resolution because of strategic relations with Turkey.

"I think the important point is almost every member of Congress privately if not publicly would say that they recognize a genocide," Schiff said. "The members of Congress are coming around to the reluctant conclusion that Turkey has reoriented itself and is turning away from the West in the direction of Iran."

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