BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
The vote, last Thursday, by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to approve H. Res. 252—the Armenian Genocide Resolution—has increased Turkey’s usual banter and has sent the Obama Administration into a tailspin, in the end showing how truly uncommitted this White House and State Department are to truth and justice and how committed they are to unequivocally advancing their agenda.
The fate of the resolution is unclear. Proponents and supporters on both sides are pledging that they will push forward and insist on a floor vote, pending they have enough of them.
From recalling its ambassador to threatening to close access to Incirilik air base, Turkey has upped the volume on its usual cries for attention. Joining the chorus more vocally this time around is Azerbaijan.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the resolution a farce and has signaled that its ambassador to the US, Namik Tan, would not return to Washington until there is a final determination on the fate of the resolution. This was coupled with more fervent threats by Turkish ruling and opposition parties that the Armenia-Turkey protocols are dead.
Turkish writer Ahmet Altan writes in the Turkish Taraf newspaper:
“Why is the ‘Armenian Genocide’ a matter of discussion in American, French and Swiss parliaments and not in the parliament of the Turkish Republic ? Why can’t we, ourselves, discuss a matter that we deem so vital that we perceive the difference of one vote as a source of humiliation?
If you cannot discuss your own problems, you deserve to be humiliated. If you keep silent in a matter that you find so important, you deserve to be humiliated. If you try to shut others up, you are humiliated even more. The whole world interprets the killing of so many Armenians, -a number we cannot even estimate properly- as ‘genocide.’”
Altan goes on to assert that what happened to the Armenians does constitute Genocide and the sooner the Turks come to terms with it, the better it would be. Ironically, for speaking the truth, Altan could face criminal prosecution in the very country that is such a critical ally to the US, which, in its turn, is such an advocate for human rights, democracy and justice.
On the domestic front, a day after the vote, the Associated Press reported that “…a senior Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said there was an understanding with the Democratic leadership in Congress that the resolution would not go to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives.”
A Democratic aide at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office told Asbarez in an email that he could not confirm the anonymous Obama administration official’s claim.
In an article posted on “The Hill” Monday, an aide for Rep. Adam Schiff, the author of the resolution said, “Rep. Schiff is not aware of any agreement with the administration on a floor vote. Rep. Schiff is committed to whipping votes and will not request a floor vote until he is confident he has the votes to get it passed.”
“Secretary Clinton has been clear that further Congressional action with regard to House Resolution 252 could impede progress on normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, and thus we oppose it. As the Secretary has said, we continue to believe that the best way for Turkey and Armenia to address their shared past is through their ongoing effort to normalize relations,” Paul Oglesby, a press officer at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the State Department wrote in an email to an Asbarez inquiry.
Really, Madame Secretary? Since when has the US shied away from taking definitive positions on unresolved issues between two states or parties? Was the US silent when Georgia instigated an all-out war with Russia in 2008? Or, has it been allowing the sides to “address their shared past” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Vietnam? Korea? And, the list goes on…
It should be evident that the US’ keen interest in the protocols is not to necessarily advance peace in the region, but rather, among other things, it is a vehicle for US energy domination in that part of the world and an opportunity to expand US military interests.