WASHINGTON (Reuters) — March 2, the US aerospace and defense industry is urging House of Representatives lawmakers to reject a measure that would call the World War One-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces genocide, warning it could jeopardize US exports to Turkey.
The chief executives of the Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Raytheon Co, United Technologies Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp issued a rare joint letter, warning that passage of the measure by the House Foreign Affairs Committee could lead to “a rupture in US-Turkey relations” and put American jobs at risk.
“Alienating a significant NATO ally and trading partner would have negative repercussions for US geopolitical interests and efforts to boost both exports and employments,” the CEOs warned in a Feb. 26 letter to the committee’s Democratic chairman, Representative Howard Berman.
They noted that US defense and aerospace exports to Turkey totaled over $7 billion in 2009 and were projected to be “similarly robust” in 2010.
The nonbinding resolution, to be voted on Thursday by the House panel, would require President Barack Obama to ensure that US policy formally refers to the massacres as “genocide” and to use that term when he delivers his annual message on the issue in April — something Obama avoided doing last year.