Turkey and Armenia Move to Ease Tensions ahead of congressional vote on genocide





Turkey and Armenia have agreed to a framework for improving their strained relations, the two countries said in a statement this week, apparently in the first breakthrough in diplomacy in more than a decade...

The statement’s timing seemed calculated to dampen enthusiasm in the United States for passing a resolution in Congress to recognize the Armenian killings as genocide. In a trip to Turkey this month, President Obama praised the two countries’ efforts to overcome their differences and refrained from using the word “genocide” when pressed to reiterate his position on the matter.

“I’m not interested in the U.S. tilting these negotiations one way or another while they are having a useful discussion,” he said.

American presidential administrations typically oppose the passage of such a resolution because it would anger Turkey.

The House of Representatives came close to voting on a genocide bill in 2007, but Turkey, a NATO member and an ally in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, vehemently protested, and the bill never reached the floor. Niyazi Oktem, a law professor at Bilgi University in Istanbul, said the statement appeared to be aimed at supporting Mr. Obama’s position to give dialogue a chance.

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