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April 6th, 2009
02:21 PM ET

Obama's Turkish dilemma

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/06/obama.turkey/art.obama.turkey.cnn.jpg caption="President Obama and Turkish President Abdullah Gul hold a joint news conference Monday."]

F. Stephen Larrabee, RAND

President Obama's visit to Ankara this week highlights Turkey's growing strategic importance to the United States - and a high stakes dilemma for the President and for U.S. strategic interests.

Turkey today plays an increasingly important role in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, and its cooperation is critical to achieving U.S. objectives in all three areas. Turkey also enjoys strong ties to Iran and Syria, which could be helpful as Washington seeks to establish a dialogue with both countries.

Turkish cooperation could be important in facilitating the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and promoting stability once they leave. Turkey is even emerging as an important transit route for the transport of Caspian oil and gas.

However, the administration's efforts to repair relations with Turkey could be derailed by a Congressional resolution introduced last month condemning Turkey for the mass deportation and death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915.

The fate of the Armenians killed in 1915 is a major tragedy and an important moral and political issue. However, the Armenian Genocide Resolution is not the way to address it. Passage of the resolution would precipitate a crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations, and damage broader U.S. interests in the region.

The genocide resolution is a highly emotional issue in Turkish domestic politics and has been a source of deep discord in U.S.-Turkish relations. In the fall of 2007, the Bush administration narrowly averted a serious crisis with Ankara only by a last minute all-out lobbying campaign that prevented the resolution (HR-106) from coming to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But the genocide resolution is far from dead. The Armenian lobby was encouraged by its near success in 2007. And the proposal has strong support among Democrats, who traditionally are more concerned about human rights issues than are Republicans. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is from California, which has a large - and very vocal - Armenian community.

Senator Hillary Clinton and President Obama both supported the resolution during the presidential campaign. In office, they could change their minds, as a number of their predecessors have done. They might have trouble, however, persuading some of their colleagues.

If the resolution is passed, the Turkish government could come under strong domestic pressure to take retaliatory actions. Anti-American sentiment there is already high. US-Turkish relations seriously deteriorated during the Bush administration as a result of the US invasion of Iraq and the unwillingness of the Bush administration to assist Turkey in combating cross-border attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a terrorist group located in the Kandil mountains in northern Iraq. Clearly President Obama is working to rebuild relations with his visit there.

If the genocide resolution is passed, however, Turkish leaders might be pressured to retaliate by, for example, denying the United States use of Incirlik air base in southern Turkey. Incirlik plays a critical role in the transport of people and materials to Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, with the recent loss of U.S. access to the base at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, Incirlik could become a crucial hub for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. Loss of access to Incirlik could also complicate the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

The Armenian conflict remains sensitive because it was key to Turkey's emergence as a nation. Recalling the conflict conjures fears of separatist conflict, and fuels Turkish nationalism. However, Turkey has shown a greater willingness to address the issue more openly in recent years. At the end of 2008, more than 26,000 Turks signed a letter apologizing for the deaths of the Armenians who died at the hands of the Ottoman authorities in 1915.

Passage of the genocide resolution could seriously set back the process of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation currently underway between Ankara and Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. This process has gained important momentum since President Abdullah Gul's historic visit to Armenia - the first visit to Armenia ever by a Turkish president - in September 2008. Recent statements by Turkish and Armenian officials suggest that the two countries are close to normalizing relations.

A normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations would have important implications for stability in the Caucasus and enable Armenia to reduce its political and military dependence on Russia – an important U.S. policy objective. It would also remove a major obstacle to Armenia's ability to join regional energy schemes, from which Armenia has been so far excluded. This process risks being derailed, however, if the genocide resolution is passed.

The Obama administration thus needs to pursue a two track policy. First, it should seek to bolster strategic ties to Turkey and continue to actively support the Erdogan government's struggle to combat terrorist attacks by the Kurdistan Workers Party. This is regarded by Ankara as the litmus test of the U.S.-Turkish security relationship. Second, the administration needs to work with the Congressional leadership, especially Pelosi, to head off passage of the genocide resolution.

Instead of passing the Genocide resolution Congress should encourage the process of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, particularly the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border (closed since 1993), which would have an important economic impact on Armenia and decrease Armenia's economic isolation.

In return for heading off the resolution, Turkey should pursue reconciliation with Yerevan and continue the effort to promote greater internal openness in addressing the Armenian issue that has been evident in recent years.

This would represent a win-win situation for all sides and avoid a crisis that could do untold damage to U.S.-Turkish relations and broader U.S. interests in the Middle East and Caucasus.

Editors Note: F. Stephen Larrabee holds the Corporate Chair in European Security at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. H Balzac

    Make sure the resolution details how this started:

    A faction of Armenians was agitated by Russia to destabilize the Ottoman Empire.

    April 6, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  2. Selin

    It was actually 1.4 million Armenians...its not in the hundreds or thousands...its in the millions

    April 6, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Harvey Pollack

    It is unfortunate we seem to want to sacrifice morality for expediency in this regard. The current Turkish administration is quite regressive in its ways and seems bent on sacrificing many years of hard won secularism, which was formerly defended by the Turkish army. It is foolhardy to kow-tow to the Islamist party Erdagon represents on any matter whatsoever, let alone to cooperate with their historical revisionism in regards to the Armenian Genocide.

    April 6, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  4. Lisa

    I am appalled by people who keep saying that the genocide events took place almost 100 years ago and that it is too long ago to worry about. For more than 80 years Armenian people have been calling for justice. There is no time limit on persecuting crime. The 1st gen survivors were in fear and shock. The 3rd/4th have empowerment. Every single Armenian has a horror story in their past. How can we forget that. How can we let it go! The murderer's must be prosecuted dead or alive. This mass cover-up is what it is a 'cover-up'. As lady Macbeth is quoted in Shakespeares Macbeth. 'Out, damned spot! out, I say! Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

    April 6, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  5. George Markarian

    It is really amazing to read this article and some of the commentary associated with it. Why should the systematic deportation and killing of hundreds of thousands of armenians be marginalized, denied (as in the case of the turkish government) and swept under the rug? I wonder how people would feel if the Holocaust were not acknowledged or even worse, categorically denied or revised in the name of national interest? It is shameful that this nation and its past presidents have failed to maintain several promises on and off the campaign trail to recognize the armenian genocide. For those commentators whose position is that we do not need to resurrect painful events from 100 years ago and that it is time to move on, I say: It is time for Turkey to join the ranks of modern civilization like many other nations and to face up to its past. Only then can true reconciliation take place

    April 6, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  6. Siro Trevisanato

    Take home lesson: if you are interested in starting a genocide, make sure you are in a strategic spot so no one will bug you about it later on.

    Or did I miss something?

    April 6, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  7. antony

    US should stands for justice and fairness at least under the Obama administration. We should be able to tell our friends and allies when they are wrong, just as Turkey told US their opposition to the war in Iraq...friends can disagree. We should not be afraid to tell Turkey just how wrong are they in denying The Genocide....just like Franc and Switzerland did....yes Turkey was upset. initially...but they are best of friends now ...in switzerland its against the law to deny the Armenian Genocide...
    should we deny the jewish holocaust because it happend 70 years ago? whether its 70 or 90 ..or 200 years facts are facts....should we forget what happend on 9/11....and let Al Qaida get away with it....????If they want to be accepted as a civilized nation they should do the right thing.....accept and move on....just like germany...

    April 6, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  8. Ebru

    I feel sorry for the Armenians who grew up with this inherited hate; spending all their energy and money on a talltale...

    I feel more proud of Obama everyday, I am glad my kids are growing up to a better, wiser U.S.; there is a lot to learn from this man!

    April 6, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  9. Jamie

    What's more important is Turkey's current actions to its minorities, which is not good. Wasnt a famous Armenian journalist killed in Turkey couple years ago only because he wrote about the Armenian Genocide? And Turkish police treated the killers as almost war heroes. This cannot be excused under any circumstances.

    Turkey must accept the genocide as it commited it, apologize to the Armenian people and finally start showing some change, some good intentions to them rather than discrimination and humiliation.

    April 6, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  10. frank ward

    I live in Fresno in the San joaquin Valley of California, we have the largest concetration of Armenians outside of Armenia,The Armenians here have a lot of political clout and all out congressmen ,regardless of political party support the resolution, if this so-called genocide actually happened or was just part of the war involving the ottoman empire ,would be hard to prove or disprove, for many Armenians who lost relatives the real purpose of having this declared a genocide is related to only thing, they, the Armenians want compensation in the way of money from ,what they perceive a very rich Turkish Government,perhaps they ,the armenians , could be paid off without Turkey ever admitting anything. good luck

    April 6, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  11. dude

    Sadly we won't recognize our own genocide and even an episode of ethnic cleansing. What else do you call the forced migration of Indians, even acculturated ones, from the East to Oklahoma. They don't call it the trail of tears for nothing.

    April 6, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  12. A Ovacik

    What happened in the past should be left to historians, not politicians and lobbies.

    April 6, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  13. Peter

    This issue is not relevant and should be quickly forgotten. There is a huge armenian lobby attempt to get it recognize in order to seek reparations, what other purpose would it serve? Perpetual victimhood for the armenians??

    I don't see its in Americas best interest to damage relations with Turkey over something that is based on speculation not hard concrete evidence that what happen was a "genocide". It was wartime and Turkey was invaded and repelled the attackers. What else is there to consider?

    April 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  14. Keegan VerBurg

    Of course those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, but history is best remembered in the 3rd person. Should we really condemn Turkey for the sins of their fathers? The individuals responsible for the genocide are long dead, should we really push a truly moderate muslim-majority state away from us to appease a group seeking revenge for wrongs committed before they were born?

    The genocide committed against the Armenian people was horrible, but if one must choose between the past and the future, the choice is clear.

    April 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  15. E

    I'm a Turkish born US Citizen and though I have more in common with the democrats, I've never been a "follow the party" person. Having said that, I wanted to bring in a Turk's perspective.

    There are already many nations that have officially acknowledged the events that took place a 100 years ago as genocide. To be honest, I've read up quite a bit from both sides of the issue and I still can't decide either way. Vast majority of Turks however will not accept that their ancestors would/could do such a thing since under Ottoman rule, many self governing states (millets) lived peacefully together, including Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, and Jews for a really long time.

    I am glad however that there are at least talks now between Ankara and Yerevan and hope that there could be a more "personal" resolution to the issue between Turkey and Armenia without laws being passed by other countries to set such a strong word as "genocide" in stone. I especially dislike the French initiative a couple of years back that would've made it illegal to deny the events as not being a genocide and to call it anything less. These laws/resolutions do not help but rather damage the relationships between all parties involved. What we need is mutual understanding and cooperation in setting history straight, instead of any action that demonizes one race/culture in the eyes of the other for generation after generation.

    I think we have far more important things to resolve now throughout the world as people (not just economic) than to put a label on the deaths of many innocent lives almost a hundred years ago. And as a previous poster said it quite nicely.. "We can revisit the past – but you can never change it – focus on the future and learn from the past"

    I was very glad that our President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton visited Turkey in general and I think we're finally undoing the damage done by the previous 8 years of isolation from the rest of the world.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  16. Derya

    History must be left to historioans and scholars and not to politicians influenced by various lobbies and interest groups...also, we should focus on creating a more peaceful future for our kids and next generations instead of passing on the hate and endless vengeance

    April 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  17. Kristy

    This resolution HAS to pass. You can not deny that genocide happened and by turning your head you are saying it doesn't matter!

    It matters. The USA should stand proud to the world and admit that genocide did happen. What would the commotion be if people were saying to forget the Holocaust happened?

    The only country that needs to get over itself it Turkey. Admit your mistakes and move on! The Armenians are trying but you can not tell us to forget about it! It did happen a long time ago but many American citizens lived through it! My grandmother did!

    This is time that the USA should step up, as the French have done, and stand behind history!

    April 6, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  18. Ara

    I appreciate that you have drawn attention to the Armenian issue that is embedded in the administration's attempt to rebuild ties with Turkey, an increasingly key strategic ally of the US. To keep this brief, I just wanted to point out a couple issues which you raised, but which were not given full exposure by your account of the facts.

    1) While it is true that thousands of Turkish scholars recently signed a letter apologizing for the fate of the Armenians under Ottoman rule, the government of Turkey, which you posit to be coming to terms with the attrocities of 1915, issued harsh criticism of the letter and even considered charging its original authors with a criminal offense of "insulting the Turkish nation" (article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code).

    2) In that same vein, Turkey has a long way to go toward becoming a tolerant and progressive democracy. It was just two years ago when a nationalist Turk traveled to Istanbul and shot in cold blood Hrant Dink, the editor of a Turkish language Armenian newspaper – Dink, a man who had dedicated his work to reconciling relations between Armenians and Turks. Actions like these are clear evidence that the democracy America should expect from one of its strongest allies cannot be achieved until Turkey comes to terms with and admits to its people's past.

    Our president promises that America will uphold human rights without equivocation. If that's truly the case, genocide denial should not and can not be a part of that same platform. As for stirring up the US' ties with Turkey, rest assured that Turkey needs the United States much more than the US needs Turkey. A country with the international reach of the US should not succumb to surrendering its foreign policy and moral standing to the whims of one ally.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  19. Peter

    Its a shame that this lie is still being kicked around. Armenian and Russia invaded Turkey during WW1 and was eventually repelled by the Turks. Many Turks died at the hands of the Armenian invaders but no one seems to want to acknowledge this. It was wartime, the Armenian opportunists took a chance and lost. Not sure what they hope to acheive in this whole makebelieve genocide issue. Reparations??

    The Turkish army is the second largest army in NATO. I think we should show them the respect that they deserve. They have been a good friend and ally.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  20. Marshall D. Moushigian

    How twisted has this country become, when something as fundamental to our existence as justice can get in the way of so-called interests. The reason the US image abroad is so low is because we are hypocrites. If we can call a spade a spade and recognize the Genocide for what it was, that will make up for the years of failed Bush diplomacy. It is nonsense for us to think that the Turks will come to terms with their past if we simply ask them. Their Penal Code (see section 301) forbids talk of the Genocide. Why, you ask? Because the Turks know exactly what they did and now want to cover it up. If this is ancient history, then in 40 years, when we mark 100 years since the holocaust, I dare anyone to tell the Jews to forget about it. The reason it happened to the Jews is because the Armenian crime wasn't punished, which set the standard for future tyrants to commit race murder. Sorry if the Genocide has gotten in the way of our "interests" (whatever they may be), but it happened, it must be recognized, Turkey must return stolen land and property, to the extent feasible, open the border it closed on Armenia and then, because the US stood strong, will our image be made stronger, and justice, the ultimate goal, will have been served. What is really shameful, and insulting (to an Armenian man and grandson of Genocide survivors) is that the world only cares how "insulted" the Turks will be if we call the Genocide a genocide – what about the Armenians who live with this crime every day? What nerve! It appears that it is OK for an entire race, and nation, of people to be removed from their ancesteral homeland. Where is the Christian community coming together to condemn the annihilation of the world's first Christian nation. To hell with the turks and their feelings – justice is the issue.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  21. Joe

    For those of you who think that we shouldn't "dredge up" old issues, let me say that the Armenians are not asking for reparations. Just acknowledgement that these events took place. The Turkish government has been bankrolling academic positions around the world for the purpose of sowing seeds of doubt that the genocide ever took place. Imagine for a second if today's German government refused to acknowledge the holocaust? On a personal note, my 103 year old grandmother had her entire family killed during the genocide. The stories she remembers are as heart-wrenching as any from the holocaust. So I take offense when people think these are just some issues from another time. Also ask yourself why Turkey is so against these resolutions? The Turkish actions against the Kurds and the Greeks from the past couple of decades are reason enough not to question their motives for the denial. During the Cold War the US didn't want to upset Turkey because it was a key ally against the USSR. Now Turkey is a key ally because of its supposed secular status. This country needs to side with the truth in this instance. Pelosi and the Dems have played politics with this issue for too long. Bob Dole, had he been elected would have taken the correct step. Let's see Obama honor his promises.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  22. Shant

    The argument, that "just because something happened 100 years ago, we should forget it" is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard. Should we forget slavery and the Holocaust just because it happened in the past? I am an Armenian and my family lost many relatives during the genocide. However, I am also an American who understands that recognizing the genocide might not be in the best interest of the United States. But, we are tired of the genocide being used as a campaign promise by every presidential candidate, only for the candidate to turn around and ignore the promise when he is elected president. Be honest with us and explain to us why recognizing the genocide will not happen.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:40 pm |
  23. George Koveos

    Turkey's 'growing strategic importance' in the region cannot excuse its persecution of religious and ethnic minorities.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  24. Aaron

    Official U.S. Armenian Genocide recognition is decades late due to one important fact, political pressure from Turkey.

    If we did not allow our government - for decades - to be continuously bullied by the Turkish Republic, this would not be an issue.

    We ridicule the deniers of the Holocaust, but consider official Armenian Genocide recognition to be a casualty of U.S.-Turkish relations. My friends, a civilization was almost completely wiped out, yet our government allows a foreign nation to intimidate us into tip-toeing around the subject. If you don't condemn a crime, you allow it to happen again. Just Google "Raphael Lemkin' and you will find that the man you coined the word "genocide" based this word on the Armenians.

    If you'd like to see how far back the Turkish Government's denial goes, research M-G-M's Forty Days of Musa Dagh film.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  25. Don

    This entire subject is living proof the democratic congress has the brains God promised a grub worm. What a total bunch of idiots.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  26. Nicole Aranosian Barker

    I find it very disturbing that the Armenian Genocide can be so easily dismissed, and yet, the holocaust is imprinted into our history books..into our society. Many Americans exist because their relatives escaped certain death at the hands of the Turks, me included. Understandably, this is a very serious subject for us.
    I agree, our country has many pressing issues, and I pray that we find resolution quickly. Still, I truly do not think it's right for history not to be acknowledged as a means to an end.
    Unfortunately, I do not have much faith in our government, no matter who is at the helm. I find comfort in knowing the truth about what happened, and passing on that truth to future generations.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  27. ksenia

    can you call Holocost non-existent too? Armenian genocide has happened and MUST be addressed. many in Turkey support the position of recognizing this fact and offer at least some solutions. people were killed, we can't just simply say, o , it happened a 100 years ago and we should forget about it!
    we need to find middle ground too. we can't just simply walk away neither from truth neither from reality and need for partnership.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  28. John Mathis

    This is quite simple, Turkey should apologize for the genocide against the Armenians and move on. The whole world accept of course Turkey, a few muslim nations in Africa and the US have already recognized the genocide. In fact, 33 states of the our Union have already recognized the genocide. Why not say "sorry" and move on. Damn, this is not that hard.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  29. Gary Mayers

    Once we start distinguishing well documented events in history as they best suit our national interests, we lose legitimacy and the moral ground. The only difference between the holocaust, Darfur, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, and the Armenian genocide, is that in the latter case, the victims are not even acknowledged as ever existed or perished. It is rumored that Hitler once said, "the world never acknowledged Turkey's extermination of the Armenians, why would they do now with the Jews?" This is not about offending a friendly country, this is about giving a lesson to the world that justice has only one definition and no country can re-define it.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  30. Alex

    Turkish Armenian border will not be opened until Armenia withdraws from 20 percent of internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory. Turkish public will not risk estranging their ethnic cousins-Azeris with whom they have strong economic, political and cultural ties.
    Armenians committed genoside against defenseless Azeri civilians in Khocali by beheading children, impaling pregnant women, selling the internal organs of captured Azeris during the Nagorno Karabakh War. They drove out 700,000 Azeris Turks and Kurds out of their homeland with the help of Russia and Armenian Diaspora. Why dont the world see it? Why our president dont express the same sentiments on Khocali tragedy?

    April 6, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  31. Juneyt

    The Armenian war crimes claim can not and should not be resolved by the US Congress. This is a deep wound for both nations that lived together for centuries till WW I. If Ottoman Empre really pursued Armenian genocide, there would not be one single Armenain left in the Middle East. It is true that hundreds of thousands of Armenians died during the forced move to Lebonan and Syria but so did thousands of Turks during the same conflict because of the nationalistic conflict. The forced move was ordered because Armenians were attacking the Ottoman army from behind during the Russian war in WWI. After WW I, the Ottoman officers who ordered the forced migration were tried, and some of them were hanged and some of them were expelled by Allies. On top of that trial, in 1918-1919 Armenian armies occupied Anatolia killing and massacring thousands of Turks as a revenge, but noone is talking about that genocide today. We should not be making it an an issue of politics today. Let Armenia and Turkey open their achives and heal/resolve their wounds together. It is nonsense to bring this genocide claim up every year in the US Congress just to get money from the Armenian fund raisers.

    April 6, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  32. Alex

    Why is it that if you deny the Jewish massacre done by Hitler you are an anti-semite, but if someone denies the Armenian massacre/genocide, you are a Congressman? Hypocracy is rampant in the world. How come the Jews think that the atrocities that happened to them is more important than the atrocities that happen to any other group? Raphael Lemkin, a Jew, was the person who coined the word "Genocide" after WWII for the purpose to single out the holocaust that occurred to the Jews is unique and more important. What happened to the Jews is just as important and tragic as to what happened to the Armenians and every other group in the world. We must learn from it and move on to prevent it, but we have not learned from it and we are not preventing it.

    MasterAL99@aol.com

    April 6, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  33. Marzipan

    What happened in Turkey during WWI was tragic and wrong. The questions at hand is if Turkey is starting to be more open about past events and if Turkey and Armenia are making progress in normalizing relationships. The answer to both these questions seems to be yes.

    The next question is if this resolution will do anything to facilitate this process and the answer seems to be no. So if things are improving already, why would the US government take action that would only serve to impede the progress that is currently being made?

    April 6, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  34. Brad

    Should it Really matter to Americans that President Obama has relatives that happen to be muslims? The President is finally showing the world what responsible leadership looks like. I am proud of the man for his sincere dialogue that may give this planet the open door to peaceful relations that every leader promises but can't seem to deliver. My. View. Keep it rolling Mr. President.

    British Columbia, Canada

    April 6, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  35. Mari

    @ RL Wellman.......... are you sure Obama took "500 people with him"??

    Or is it........ that the press corps with him is 500!

    There are a lot of rumors, you can't believe everything you hear!

    April 6, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  36. RLWellman

    I am wondering. Has any other President taken over 500 people with him to visit overseas like President Obama is doing? Especially in this time with the country in it's economic condition. Just another bill we have to pay as taxpayers!

    April 6, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  37. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    President Obama, did great over sea's, I was glad to see that he got so much, dispite the fact, that we have no face to ask or get anything from anyone over there, after the mess we have made over there.

    April 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  38. MarASU

    This is very interesting. I believe both countries should settle down and get it together. Their is no sense in bringing up old issues to stir up commotion. We should all try o get along for the best and make it through the hard times. Of course its easier said than done, but things would get better with time.

    April 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  39. Larry

    So because it was Armenians that were massacred by the Ottoman Empire it doesn't count as a genocide or a holocaust; its only if its carried out against Jews, mentally ill, gypsies and homosexuals that counts. Obama is a hypocrite, using lawyerspeak to justify his election campaign speeches.

    April 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  40. chris bern

    what about this assasination attempt on obama that the jeruselem post is reporting, why is no one mentioning this. Kudos to the turks for catching them.

    April 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  41. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Another test to see if Obama can control his own party.

    April 6, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  42. Annie Kate

    I'm against genocide but I don't see why we are flirting with disaster by dredging up something that happened almost 100 years ago. Let the Turks resolve that part themselves and lets us keep our minds and goals on the future. It shouldn't be up to us anyway to censure the Turks for past misdeeds.

    April 6, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  43. Mari

    Diplomacy and respect go along way to healing past wounds. This is something the Bush neocons knew nothing about.

    April 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  44. Isabel

    President Obama asks Turkey to help resolve conflicts of Iran to Afghanistan.

    It is sad to see that peace is something as complicated and often a chimera.

    April 6, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  45. Sandra Robertson, Ga.

    Armenians wish the Turkish government would kindly just acknowledge that the Armenian genocide really took place in history from 1915-1917. However, this issue may never be resolved; it has been an issue too long. My Armenian grandfather escaped persecution; he was not an angry man. On the contrary, he was content in being an American citizen where he finally found peace, happiness, and properity.

    April 6, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  46. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    While the Armenian genocide was a major tragedy, everyone in this world needs to get beyond the horrible events of the past, deal with the many problems facing all of us right now, and work to prevent horrible events from happening in the future.

    Our Congress should be focusing on the many problems which we are facing today.

    April 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  47. Daniel Wood Pittsburgh PA

    Sometimes you have to wonder if our politicians and policy-makers are TRYING to fail.

    Why bring this up at a time like this? How will this help U.S. – Turkey relations? Do this crap after they like us, not before.

    April 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  48. StevG

    I never understood, the chest pounding aspects of the two houses, on something that happened almost 100 years ago. It can't accomplish anything or solve any problems, all it will due is cause friction and resentment. The problems in this century should take priority over
    the ones in the last century. The two nations need to work together on the pressing problems we both face now, instead of dwelling on finding the blame on problems in the past. The houses, i beleave have alot of problems in this present situation, in our own country that they should be concentrating on in the first place, rather then debaiting
    and forming opinions on something that happen almost 100 years ago in another country.

    April 6, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  49. James Hurt

    Mr Coper I was just watching an CNN, two little girls who wrote President Obama asking to help there father. There father put out 300 resumes and no response and evidently will lose his house tommorow. Why would you do that, they (new adminstration) have Irac, Afaganstan, economic melt down, kinapping in Arizona, Mexico drug war, North Korea, Stimulus Package with Repulicans non crossing of party lines, terrosim, tryin to open diplomatic talks with the rest of the world that blames us for the current meltdown, massive kilings in the last week on US soil some blaming on out of work Americans, massive fraud exposed in the wall street you know ther is more. Again why would you air some thing like that which took more than 60 days to create. If you want air something like that, blaming President Obama that he's not doing enough. I think it would just be just as responsilbe to say at the end of those reports to say "he's only been in office 2 months. In this crisis the news can help heal this country that I love or not. UP TO YOU!

    April 6, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  50. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    We can revisit the past---but you can never change it--focus on the future and learn from the past--however--sometimes that is easier said than done.

    April 6, 2009 at 11:29 am |
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