Top Dem asks Wilson Center to rescind award for Turkish foreign minister

A top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to rescind a planned award for Turkey's foreign minister.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) wrote Lee Hamilton, the director of the Smithsonian-based memorial institute, to criticize a planned public service award for Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister.

The award, Ackerman said in a letter, "is absolutely inconsistent ... with the mission of the WWC and the ideals that animated President Wilson's administration and foreign policy."

Ackerman expressed dismay over the award given Turkey's longstanding dispute with Armenia in recognizing a historic slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide. Ackerman also criticized Turkey's role in sponsoring a recent flotilla to deliver supplies to Israel, an attempt that led to the deaths of nine in an incident Davutoglu had likened to 9/11.

"I strongly urge you to rescind the decision to present Foreign Minister Davutoglu with the WWC Public Service Award," Ackerman wrote.