U.S. recognition of Armenian genocide more likely than ever – Eurasianet

A vote by the U.S. House of Representatives this week on a resolution to formally acknowledge the Armenian Genocide coincides with a spat between Ankara and Wahsington, making it more likely to succeed than any previous effort, Eurasianet website said on Monday. 

While the U.S. government has not officially recognised the Armenian genocide, the issue of the U.S. recognition what happened to Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire starting in 1915 as genocide has been the subject of a years long lobbying and diplomatic battle in Washington. 

Most international scholars and 29 countries recognise the events starting in 1915 as a genocide; Turkey, however, admits that massacres took place but rejects the term genocide.

Turkey as one of the U.S.’ closest allies has used its clout in Washington to block any attempts at formal genocide recognition, the article said.

With deteriorating U.S.-Turkey ties, which have hit another hurdle with Turkey’s military operation in Syria launched on Oct. 19, analysts and activists in Washington believe Ankara will no longer be able to withstand this latest push for genocide recognition.

“Ankara has seen its base of advocates and apologists on Capitol Hill steadily erode over the past two decades,” Eurasianet quoted Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, a leading Armenian-American lobbying group, as saying.

“You can draw a line from Turkey’s refusal to allow a northern front in the 2003 Iraq war to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s assault against peaceful American protesters at Sheridan Circle in 2017, his recent S-400 purchase, and the current bipartisan outrage over the attack on America’s Kurdish allies in Syria.”

Alan Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington think tank Center for American Progress who studies Turkey maintains that Turkey “likely has made enough enemies” for the resolution to pass.

“Traditionally, the administration lobbies against it, warning that it would seriously corrode U.S.-Turkish relations. Given the current deterioration of bilateral relations … I doubt the administration would try to make that argument. Were it inclined to do so, it would likely fall on deaf ears in Congress,” Makovsky said.

Among the list of options given to U.S. President Donald Trump by his advisors in responding to Turkey’s offensive, was the recognition of the Armenian genocide, Eurasianet said citing a White House adviser.

“Now would be a good time for the United States to recognize the Armenian Genocide,” Ted Lieu, a Democratic representative from California, said on October 14. 

“For too long, presidents like @realDonaldTrump were too afraid to acknowledge this historical truth out of respect for Turkey. Turkey no longer deserves our respect or our assistance,” he said on Twitter.

However, John Evans, who was effectively fired from his job as U.S. ambassador to Armenia after calling the events of 1915 a genocide, maintains this may not be the best time for the move. 

“Although it is high time the Armenian Genocide was universally recognized, to do so as a way of lashing out at Turkey seems to be inadvisable,” Evans told Eurasianet. “Both because it instrumentalizes, or misuses, a serious issue; and because it is likely to cause a major backlash among the Turks, who are literally on the warpath just now.”