Genocide Resolution Stirs Controversy

Sarah Elkeaikati

For Armenian activists fighting the uphill battle in an attempt to have the Armenian genocide of 1915 recognized in the U.S., the third time just might be a charm.

A revised U.S. resolution recognizing the genocide, which is co-sponsored by 225 members of the house, was brought to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Oct. 10 and was approved by a 27-21 vote.

Previous versions of the bill were introduced in 2001 and 2005, however, they did not make it past the house.

This time around, the resolution has more support, especially with more than a majority of House members as co-sponsors.

The resolution has sparked much debate within Congress and with the President because of the risks passage might entail.

Turkey is a NATO partner and a vital ally of the U.S. and the resolution could endanger that crucial alliance, and affect Turkey’s cooperation with the U.S. in the war in Iraq.

The Turkish embassy stated that the resolution “would impose a one-sided interpretation of the tragedies that befell upon many in the last years of the Ottoman Empire and would commit injustice to those who are seeking the truth. Such measures would not only affect relations between the United States and Turkey.but would further complicate Turkish-Armenian relations and frustrate Turkey’s pursuit of reconciliation.”

President George W. Bush also warned that a resolution like this would offend an important ally and create a negative impact on U.S. security interests.

Although an exact date has not been set for a vote, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Glendale, author of the resolution, said it may happen in November.

The Armenian Genocide occurred between the years of 1915 and 1923 when, although the exact number is subject for debate, nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed in Eastern Turkey.

The Turkish Embassy claims that the number of casualties is inflated and that it was not genocide, but merely casualties of World War I.