U.S. recognition of Armenian genocide signals Ankara’s loss of influence over Washington – analyst

U.S. President Joe Biden’s  recognition of the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide signals Turkey’s loss of leverage and influence over Washington, analyst Kristina Jovanovski wrote for the Media Line news agency, citing analysts.

Jovanovski cited analysts who pointed to thenew low Ankara-Washington relations have sunk to, in light of the fact that previous administrations avoided using the term so as not to upset NATO ally Turkey.

Biden on Saturday plans to follow through on a campaign pledge to formally recognize that atrocities committed against the Armenians by Ottoman Empire more than a century ago as genocide, a move he shared with his Turkish counterpart in the first phone call between the pair on Saturday since Biden took office, according to Bloomberg.

“Ultimately, the Erdogan government’s policies have isolated Turkey in Washington,” Aykan Erdemir, senior director of the Turkey program for the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Media Line. “Turkey ended up with no friends to advocate for Ankara’s position in Washington.”

Turkey and the United States are at odds over a string of issues, including Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air systems, Turkey’s stance against an array of regional players in war-torn Libya and U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), among others.

According to Alan Makovsky, a senior fellow for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, it is the deterioration and Washington and Ankara relations that is the difference with the expected declaration on Saturday.

“The US is starting to hedge its bets a bit … people still see [Turkey] as important strategically but I think Turkey has lost its veto power in certain areas in the US, including on this issue,’’ according to Makovsky.

Michael Rubin, a U.S. scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, on Saturday pointed out that the Congressional Turkey Caucus numbered 79, compared to the 125 of the Armenian Caucus.

“Turkey has failed in Washington,’’ Rubin said on Twitter, recalling a tweet dating to 2012 by former Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Namık Tan, who underlined the Turkey Caucus in the U.S. House had reached a record 136 at the time.

“Genocide recognition is going to be a large blow to the Turkish government,” Berk Esen, an assistant professor of political science at Sabancı University in Istanbul, told Media Line.

Biden has been angered by Erdoğan’s policies that went against U.S. interests, said Esen, who maintains the Turkish president cannot respond too strongly amid spiking COVID-19 cases and an economic crisis in his country.

On Thursday, Erdoğan slammed supporters of the recognition of the Armenian genocide in a press conference following a meeting of his top advisers, saying Turkey would “continue to defend the truth against the so-called Armenian genocide lie, and those who support this slander with political calculations.”