Washington briefing: Members of Congress raise concerns with Armenia-Turkey “road-map”

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Monday July 20, 2009

Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) at microphone, with Rep. George Radanovich (R.-Calif.), left, and Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D.-N.J.), discussing the Armenian Genocide resolution in January 2007. Armenian Reporter

Rep. Mark Kirk (R.-Ill.) who has been selected as co-chair of the House Caucus on Armenian Issues.

Washington - In a proposed letter to President Barack Obama, leading congressional advocates of Armenian-American issues charged Turkey with reneging on a commitment to normalize relations with Armenia and urged the administration "to separate the issues of normalization and genocide recognition."

The text of the letter, co-authored by Reps. Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.), Mark Kirk (R.-Ill.), Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.), and George Radanovich (R.-Calif.) was circulated on July 10 to secure additional congressional co-signers, according to an electronic copy shared with the Armenian Reporter. [See editorial, "Ask your representative to sign the letter on Armenia-Turkey relations."]

Citing preconditions that Turkish leaders have repeatedly reiterated since the "road-map" for normalization was first announced on April 22, members of Congress argued that "Turkey, in an effort to block U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, agreed to a roadmap it did not intend to uphold."

The letter concluded with an expression of "hope that renewed efforts and focused resources from the Administration can be utilized to nurture the Armenia-Turkey normalization process without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe, and continue to remain strongly supportive of your stated campaign policy to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide."

Mr. Obama avoided using the term genocide in his April 24 statement, citing the joint statement by Armenia and Turkey made public two days earlier.

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