Posted by: Lister | October 13, 2007

The Armenia bill

George Bush warned against it. And people have said that it could disrupt relations between USA and Turkey, endangering the war on terror. The alternative view, that relations are deemed to already be bad and this is punishment, doesn’t seem as strong. From the Independent:

The vote was a body-blow to attempts by politicians and diplomats behind the scenes in Washington and Ankara to put Turkish-American relations back on a normal footing. The two countries have been on bad terms since March 2003 when a group of rebels in the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) joined with the opposition to thwart government attempts to get authority for Turkey to support the invasion of Iraq from the north. A few months later, parliament reversed its decision but by then the US was no longer interested in support from the Turks.

Over the past three years, hard-line conservatives in the US administration have not forgiven the Turks for not doing what the US expects of an ally. Turkish public opinion, horrified by the nearby violence in Iraq, has been equally uncomplimentary with TV dramas and novels attacking the US enjoying an enthusiastic reception.

[…] Apart from leading to a squeeze on US use of the Incirlik base in Turkey and air and surface transit, the resolution could open the way for a Turkish military incursion into Iraq to halt PKK attacks on targets in south-east Turkey creating confrontation between Turkey and the US.

Sixteen Turkish soldiers have died in the past week in south-east Turkey as a result of PKK attacks. Several hundred more have been killed since the US-led invasion of Iraq which was followed by a revival of the PKK’s fortunes.

Against this background, the resolution could be the straw which broke the camel’s back for Turkish-US relations. There are several strands to the Turkish refusal to tolerate even a non-binding Congressional resolution. They include national resentment at what is seen as a climate of institutional prejudice against Turkey in Western societies; anger at the assassination of more than 40 Turkish diplomats by Armenians in the 1970s and 1980s; the expulsion of 800,000 to 1 million Azerbaijani Muslims from their homes in the Caucasus in the 1990s by Armenian nationalist forces; and suspicion that compensation claims may follow some day. Around half of Turkey’s population are the descendants of Muslims forced out of what are now Christian lands and regard Western partiality for Armenians as outrageous.

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Responses

  1. […] The Armenia billGeorge Bush warned against it. And people have said that it could disrupt relations between USA and Turkey, endangering the war on terror. The alternative view, that relations are deemed to already be bad and this is punishment, … […]


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