An Armenian organization charged Friday that the Obama administration was putting "morally unacceptable" pressure on Armenia to accept agreements to move toward normalizing relations with Turkey.
In a statement late Friday, the Armenian National Committee of America said that the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, which are expected to be signed in Bern next week, "threaten the security of Armenia, surrender the rights of the Armenian nation, and insult the dignity of the Armenian people."
ANCA also cited the 1915 killings by the Ottoman Empire, which have been a point of contention with the White House. "There can, as a matter of basic morality and political reality, be no enduring relationship between Armenia and Turkey that is not built upon the foundation of Turkey's acceptance of a true and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide," ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian said.
President Barack Obama had promised early in his presidential campaign that he would call the mass killings genocide if elected. However, the president avoided use of the word genocide when asked about his campaign promise during a press conference in Turkey, and also avoided the term on April 24, Armenians' remembrance day for those killed, instead opting to call it the anniversary of "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century."
"ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian expressed the Armenian American community's outrage at the ill-advised and morally unacceptable U.S. pressure on the Armenian government to accept the flawed Protocols, citing recent reports in the New York Times and elsewhere regarding Secretary Clinton's personal 'prodding' and 'pushing' of the Armenian government to accept the Protocols in the face of broad-based opposition both in Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora," the group said in its statement.
In an interview with Turkey's Anatolia news agency this week, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) lauded the protocols as "historic," adding "I hope that there would not be any obstacle before boosting relations between Turkey and Armenia."
In a statement last month, the Turkish Coalition of America lauded the administration's role and "President Obama’s personal commitment to normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia and to supporting dialogue between Turks and Armenians."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated "our very strong support for the normalization process that is going on between Armenia and Turkey."
A bill by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to recognize the killings of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, introduced on March 17, is still in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It now has 132 bipartisan cosponsors.