“It would appear that Turkey, in an effort to block US recognition of the Armenian Genocide, agreed to a roadmap it did not intend to uphold,” the letter stated. “Therefore, we urge your Administration to separate the issues of normalization and genocide recognition.”
“We 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.”
Pallone said that the goal for the caucus is that Obama will help Congress pass the Armenian Genocide resolution, which is awaiting approval from the House Foreign Relations Committee, and fulfilling his promise to recognize the Genocide.
“The president should move forward in terms of formally recognizing the Armenian Genocide and supporting Congressional efforts to recognize the Genocide,” Pallone said, “because that should have nothing to do with the normalization of Armenian and Turkish relations. The fear that I have is Turkey has basically linked the two.”
The complete text of the letter appears below:
Dear Mr. President:
We write to you with our concerns about Turkish backpedaling on the agreed upon roadmap to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia.
On April 22, 2009, just two days before the 94th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, the Department of State released the following statement:
The United States welcomes the statement made by Armenia and Turkey on normalization of their bilateral relations. It has long been and remains the position of the United States that normalization should take place without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe. We urge Armenia and Turkey to proceed according to the agreed framework and roadmap. We look forward to working with both governments in support of normalization, and thus promote peace, security and stability in the whole region.
Two days later, instead of recognizing the Armenian Genocide, the Administration opted to focus on this new roadmap to Armenian- Turkish normalization. “I also strongly support the efforts by Turkey and Armenia to normalize their bilateral relations,” you wrote. “Under Swiss auspices, the two governments have agreed on a framework and roadmap for normalization. I commend this progress, and urge them to fulfill its promise.”
While the Government of Armenia remains committed to this roadmap and has long offered to establish ties with Turkey without preconditions, Turkey’s public statements and actions since April 24th stand in sharp contrast to this agreement and undermine US policy that normalization take place without preconditions.
On May 13, 2009, Prime Minister Erdogan publicly conditioned normalization of relations with Yerevan on Azerbaijan’s approval of a future settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that fully meets Baku’s satisfaction. “I want to repeat once more that until the occupation ends, the border gates [with Armenia] will remain closed,” Erdogan told the Azeri Parliament.
On June 17, 2009, EU South Caucasus Envoy Peter Semneby said Turkey had taken “tactical steps backwards” in the normalization process with Armenia.