Sen. Reid pressures administration over Armenia-Turkey deal

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP pushes to change Senate rules for Trump Trump presses GOP to change Senate rules Only thing Defense’s UFO probe proves is power of political favors MORE (D-Nev.) has applied subtle pressure on the Obama administration over a U.S.-brokered deal between Armenia and Turkey.
In an Oct. 20 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Reid said she should meet with Armenian-American leaders to hear their concerns about the agreement between the two countries. Activists are particularly worried about one provision of the agreement that would set up a historical commission to review the events surrounding the massacre of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War I.

“I have received many letters from Nevadans who do not support the creation of an international commission to examine the historical record on the genocide and who believe that the agreements are unfair to Armenia,” Reid wrote to Clinton, including a sample letter from one of his constituents.
“Given the serious nature of the community's concerns, I felt it was important to raise them directly with you. The commission is particularly sensitive to the Armenian-American community since the Armenian genocide has never been recognized by Turkey,” Reid wrote. The Democratic leader then encouraged Clinton to meet with activists from the Armenian community.
Lawmakers are gathering co-sponsors for resolutions that would recognize the early 19th century massacre as genocide. Last week, Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) signed onto the House resolution and Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Overnight Energy: EPA plans to restrict use of science data for regs | Pruitt's Italy trip cost more than K | Perry insists he's staying at Energy Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support MORE (D-R.I.) added his name to the list of co-sponsors to the Senate version.
The House resolution, sponsored by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFive takeaways from Mark Zuckerberg's media blitz House Intel votes to release report in Russia probe Top Intel Dem: Minority 'absolutely' plans to continue Russia witness interviews MORE (D-Calif.), now has 135 co-sponsors while the Senate version, introduced by Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPoll: Menendez has 17-point lead over GOP challenger Russian attacks on America require bipartisan response from Congress Justice Dept intends to re-try Menendez in corruption case MORE (D-N.J.) in late October, has six co-sponsors.
Reid is not listed as a co-sponsor yet of the Senate resolution. But he said in a separate Oct. 30 letter to an Armenian-American activist that he recognizes the killings as genocide.
“I have always, and will continue to, recognize the terrible atrocities that took place in 1915 as genocide. As I said to those gathered for the Armenian American Cultural Society of Las Vegas' annual commemoration on April 19, 2009, I believe that the United States should acknowledge the Armenian Genocide,” Reid wrote in the letter.
Despite the historic agreement reached between Armenia and Turkey last month, both sides are preparing for a lobbying battle over the resolutions. The Turkish government opposes the resolutions and has threatened relations with the United States over the measures in the past. Because of potential retaliation by Turkey, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) retreated from bringing the resolution up for a floor vote in 2007.
The letters were released to reporters on Friday by the Armenian National Committee of America.