An interesting story in today’s FT on the Turkish reaction to the congressional decision to label the Ottoman-era killing of the Turks as “genocide”. Professional diplomats in the US have been quietly opposed to the genocide resolution for years, since they knew how furiously the Turks would react. Phillip Gordon, who is Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, had his confirmation held up for months in Congress because the Armenian lobby deemed him to be unsound on the genocide issue. The Obama administration has, in fact, worked very hard on promoting Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and made some headway. The hope was that this would be enough to cool Congress down. But it didn’t work. The Congressional vote has put Turkish-US relations into the deep freeze – which will make it much harder for America to enlist Turkish support on top American priorities, in particular Iran. (Turkey currently has a seat on the UN Security Council). Read more
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