WASHINGTON – Hürriyet Daily News
A senior Turkish official will hold talks in Washington to mainly discuss strains in the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process. The visit of Undersecretary of the foreign ministry Feridun Sinirlioğlu set to start on Feb. 13, will take place under the shadow of the pending resolution on Armenian genocide claims in a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Howard Berman, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said last week he intended to call a committee vote March 4, on the non-binding resolution urging President Barack Obama to describe the 1915 killings during the late days of Ottoman Empire as genocide. Sinirlioğu is expected to tell the U.S. official that the vote will further damage the Turkey-Armenia reconciliation process that has already hit the rocks due to the recent decision of the Armenia's constitutional court.
The court’s ruling that the interpretation and application of the protocols signed between the two countries to normalize relations should be in compliance with the Armenian constitution is a cause of concern for Turkey since Turkish government argues that the court has impaired the spirit of the agreements. The Turkish government insists that the decision prevents the discussion of Armenian genocide claims by a committee of historians that will be established according to the articles of the protocols.
Sinirlioğlu is expected to seek assurances from the U.S. administration that the court’s ruling will not legally prevent the discussion of Armenian claims of genocide.
Turkey believes the pending resolution is aimed at putting pressure on the government to pass the protocols through Parliament. In an interview over the weekend, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu denounced the committee for scheduling a vote on an Armenian “genocide” resolution at this time, saying that its passage would seriously harm Turkey’s relations with both the United States and Armenia.