Democratic Sponsors Withdraw 'Armenian Genocide' Resolution

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:32 PM EDT

( - Democrats who sponsored a House resolution labeling the 1915 mass murder of Armenians as "genocide" asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay a vote on the measure Thursday. Good, said House Republicans.

In a letter to Speaker Pelosi, Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Anna Eshoo (Calif.) and Frank Pallone (N.J.) said they believe "a large majority of our colleagues want to support a resolution recognizing the genocide on the House floor and that they will do so, provided the timing is more favorable."

The four Democratic sponsors said they hope to bring up the resolution "later this year or in 2008."

House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) said it's fortunate that Democrats decided to withdraw the bill before the "debacle turned into a full-blown national security crisis."

"Nonetheless," Boehner added, "this entire situation calls [Democrats'] judgment into question. Given Turkey's importance in the War on Terror, the role it plays in the care of our troops on the ground, and their close alliance with us in NATO, attempting to force a vote on this resolution in the first place was just plain reckless."

Boehner said there's no doubt that the Armenian people endured "tragic" suffering. "But this 90-year-old issue should be settled by historians, not by politicians," he added.

The Armenian National Committee of America urged Congress to get on the "right side of this human rights issue."

"By enabling Turkey's genocide denial, America undermines its own ability to be a positive influence in the Middle East and around the world," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

Hamparian said many U.S. lawmakers are increasingly disappointed and angry that Turkey, a U.S. ally, "is so brazenly threatening the security of our troops."

After the House Foreign Relations Committee passed the "Armenian genocide" resolution on Oct. 10, Turkey -- a key supply route to U.S. troops in Iraq -- said it might have to "cut logistical support to the U.S."

"We are confident that, as the confusion over these threats lifts, an even stronger bipartisan majority will stand up against Turkey's intimidation and vote to adopt this human rights resolution on its merits," Hamparian said.

President Bush, who has issued a number of proclamations on the annual Armenian Remembrance Day, urged Congress not to pass the genocide resolution.

" We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915," Bush said earlier this month. But, he added,"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."

See Earlier Stories:
Turkey Mulls Retaliation But Support for Genocide Motion Drops Away (18 Oct. 2007)
'Armenian Genocide' Bill Moves Ahead, Americans in Turkey Warned (11 Oct. 2007)

Subscribe to the free daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.