Poll warns US over Armenian resolution

An overwhelming majority of Turks oppose two resolutions on Armenian claims of genocide pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives, a survey of opinion by a US-based group has shown.

Poll warns US over Armenian resolution
An overwhelming majority of Turks oppose two different resolutions on Armenian claims of genocide currently pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives, and a massive portion of Turkish society believes relations with Armenia and the United States will be negatively affected if Congress passes the resolutions, a survey of opinion conducted by a US-based group has shown.

The poll, recently conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow, revealed that Turks felt so powerfully about this issue that should a resolution pass, 83 percent would oppose Turkey assisting the United States in Iraq. Almost four-fifths of Turks favor strong action by the Turkish government if a resolution is passed, including suspension of diplomatic relations.

Two similar resolutions, both urging the US administration to recognize an alleged genocide of Armenians, have been presented to both the House of Representatives and the Senate and they are now awaiting a vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a strong supporter of the resolution and, contrary to the past, when interventions from the US administration stopped passage of similar resolutions, analysts say chances are high that the resolutions will this time be passed.

Turkey has warned that passage of any such resolution would seriously harm relations with Washington, calling the move "poisonous." Ankara categorically denies Armenian allegations of genocide at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire and says there were killings on both sides when Anatolian Armenians took up arms against the Ottoman Empire in collaboration with the invading Russian army in hope of claiming some part of eastern Anatolia for an independent Armenian state.

Terror Free Tomorrow, whose advisory board is led by Republican Senator John McCain and former 9/11 Commission chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, acknowledges that the alleged genocide took place. "The genocide of innocent Armenian civilians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire must be universally acknowledged - even if condemning the mass killings as genocide provokes ire of most Turks," wrote Kenneth Ballen, president of Terror Free Tomorrow, in an editorial for the study. "That fact must never be the issue."

He says, however, that passing a resolution on the issue would harden public attitudes in Turkey, as Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, assassinated by a teenage gunman in January in Ýstanbul, had said.

Analysts say given the widespread sympathy among the US congressmen toward the Armenian allegations, the only way to prevent the passage of a "genocide" resolution is to convince the congressmen on the devastating impacts it would deliver in US-Turkish relations.The Terror Free Tomorrow survey, conducted in 15 provinces in Turkey between January 27, 2007 and February 8, 2007 with a total of 1,021 interviews, showed that some 78 percent of Turks oppose the resolution by the US Congress on the alleged genocide. The most important reason why Turks oppose such a resolution is they do not consider the US Congress to be a neutral judge of this historical issue (42 percent). Some 36 percent say an Armenian genocide never happened and another 18 percent say the issue should be resolved by historians.

Asked why the US Congress would approve a resolution on the alleged genocide, 42 percent of the respondents cited anti-Muslim feelings in the US and some 31 percent said it was due to domestic politics in the United States. Another 12 percent said the "Armenian genocide" was a proven historical fact, according to the poll.

If the US Congress approves a "genocide" resolution, 83 percent said they would oppose or strongly oppose Turkey assisting the United States in Iraq; 73 percent said it would worsen their opinion of the United States; 78 percent said they would boycott American products, vote for candidates that oppose the United States or demonstrate. Only 11 percent said they would take no action.

Asked what measures the Turkish government should take in case the Congress passes the resolution, 24 percent said it should issue an official protest to the US and 29.9 percent said it should suspend diplomatic ties with Washington. Only 6.7 percent said the government should take no action.

On relations with Armenia, 73 percent said they think the passage of the resolution would worsen relations between Turkey and Armenia. 84 percent of those who now have a very favorable opinion of the US would change their opinion for the worse.

The survey also found that although most Turks are opposed to a Congress resolution on the issue, three-quarters of all Turks would accept scholarly study on what happened in that period of history.

Source: Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16