WASHINGTON (Combined Sources)–A U.S. congressman with deep ties to Turkey has said he sees a historic opportunity for rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan that may lead to the opening of the countries’ land border and a normalization of diplomatic relations this year.
Robert Wexler, a Democratic lawmaker from Florida and the co-chair of the Turkish Friendship Caucus in the House of Representatives, spoke at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday after meeting with top Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"I came back from Turkey last week," he said, "and it seems to me that we are on the cusp of a historic opportunity with respect to Turkish-Armenian relations and the possibility in 2009 for extraordinary engagement between those two countries, the possibility of opening borders and things that might follow, such as normalization."
Wexler’s remarks came amid preparations by lawmakers to introduce a new resolution in the House calling for the formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Turkish officials have warned that the passing of an Armenian genocide resolution by Washington would damage relations in a “major and lasting way.”