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Armenian Genocide Bill Considered

As the House Foreign Affairs Committee sat down this week to consider House Resolution 106, a bill that would formally recognize the Armenian genocide, a range of Turkish officials warned that the bill’s passage could severely damage Ankara’s ties to both the United States and Israel.

In an October 9 letter to President Bush, Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned of “serious troubles,” should the House adopt the measure.

Earlier in the week, during a visit to Israel, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told the Jerusalem Post that “if something goes wrong in Washington, D.C., it inevitably will have some influence on relations between Turkey and the U.S., plus the relations between Turkey and Israel as well.”

The bill is expected to be approved by the committee and has enough votes to pass should it reach the House floor.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the bill’s passage would be “very destabilizing to our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan because Turkey, as an important strategic ally, is very critical in supporting the efforts that we are making in these crucial areas.”

Last year, Turkey cut military ties with France after the French parliament passed a bill making denial of the Armenian genocide an offense.

On Tuesday, the American Embassy in Ankara warned Americans living in Turkey of possible “demonstrations and other manifestations of anti-Americanism throughout Turkey” should the bill make it to the House floor.

A letter being circulated by the Turkish Jewish community was still more direct.

“There have been insinuations that our security and well-being in Turkey is linked to the fate of Resolution 106,” the letter read.

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