Having the United States officially recognise the genocide of some one million Armenians, by the Ottomans, between 1915 and 1923 is going to cause enormous problems with Turkey. In fact, months before Congress voted today to officially recognize the existence of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey was pressuring President Bush to make the embarrassing problem disappear.
So why did Bush listen to Turkey, and do their bidding? Turkey is a key staging point for American troops and gear into Iraq and Afghanistan. Lose the support of Turkey, over a 90 year old genocide, and American troops could find themselves in even greater peril and turmoil in the two war zones.
President Bush came out strong today, demanding Congress "oppose the Armenian genocide resolution, but the always on-ball Think Progress noticed that Bush's current opposition is vastly different to what he said he believed during the 2000 presidential election campaign.
Here's President Bush's statement today :
I urge members to oppose the Armenian genocide resolution now being considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915. This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror.
Here's Bush in 2000 :
The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people.
Turkey's Anger Over US Armenian Genocide Vote Could Threaten Future Of 'War on Terror'