Washington briefing: Turkish officials resume Washington lobbying

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Saturday March 07, 2009

Washington - As in years past, Turkish officials intensified efforts to lobby the U.S. Congress ahead of the anticipated introduction of a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide and a presidential statement on April 24.

Speaking at an Armenian community event in Fresno, Calif., on March 1, Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) said that the introduction of the resolution was imminent, the Fresno Bee reported the same day. (See story.) One of the resolution's main co-sponsors, Mr. Schiff said he also expected "an onslaught" by the Turkish government opposing the measure.

According to a Dear Colleague letter made available to the Armenian Reporter, a delegation led by the Turkish parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee chair Murat Mercan was hosted on the Capitol Hill on March 5. The letter was distributed by co-chairs of the Turkey Caucasus Rep. Robert Wexler (D.-Fla.) and Ed Whitfield (R.-Ky.) and vice co-chairs Steve Cohen (D.-Tenn.) and Virginia Foxx (R.-N.C.).

Separately, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D.-Tex.) distributed a letter opposing congressional condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and pointing to reports of high-level meetings between Armenian and Turkish officials. For his part, Rep. Bill Shuster (R.-Penn.) circulated a newspaper story that played up Turkey's importance for the anticipated U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

Turkish officials were also due to raise their opposition with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was due to visit Ankara on March 7.

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