March 8th 2010

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan jas lambasted U.S. lawmakers
for pursuing a resolution that would label his country's treatment
of Armenians after World War I as a "genocide." That declaration,
approved Thursday by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, could only
serve to damage U.S.-Turkish relations, the prime minister said.

Erdogan later decried the effort as a "parody," and he stressed his
country would in no way be "deterred" by U.S. lawmakers' forthcoming
proclamation. "Let me say quite clearly that this resolution will
not harm us," he told a business group. "But it will damage bilateral
relations between countries, their interests and their visions for the
future. We will not be the losers." Despite the issue's high profile,
there been little movement in the United States to recognize the
killing of almost 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1917 as
a genocide.

The delay stems in part from the belief that such a proclamation would
deter Turkey from cooperating further with the White House in the fight
against regional terrorism. Former President George Bush campaigned
against the resolution on those grounds in late 2007, imploring the
House Foreign Affairs Committee to reconsider a label that would only
serve to do "great harm to relations with a key ally in NATO."

Interestingly enough, then-Sen. Barack Obama signaled on the 2008
campaign trail that, "as president I will recognize the Armenian
genocide." But this week, the Obama administration has tried to derail
that effort, citing concerns that the resolution will only reverse
months of progress in Turkish-American relations. It is unclear
whether lawmakers share that view. Turkey, however, signaled this
week that it certainly does: Erdogan recalled Turkey's ambassador to
the United States on on March 4, 2010.

Tony Romm writes for The Hill, from which this article is adapted.