Reaction in Turkey to the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee vote recognising a “genocide” of Armenians in the early 20th century has been swift, and hostile.
Turkey’s prime minister has already said he fears the vote will harm US-Turkey relations, and many ordinary people say they resent the word “genocide” and the way it equates their ancestors with the Nazis.
“Turkey has already called its ambassador for consultations and I think the most important consequence of this decision by the House Foreign Relations committee is that it will spell the end,” said the former ambassador to the US, Faruk Lologlu.
But the end of what? Turkey plays too vital a regional role for Washington to want to alienate Ankara, and President Obama tried up to the last minute to prevent the vote, despite Armenian-Americans being in the main solid Democrat voters.
“Damaging these relations for the small interests of local politics will not harm Turkey, it will harm the strategic vision of the United States,” said Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Turkey does not deny hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in 1915, but rejects the accusation it was deliberate genocide, and is keen to remind people large numbers of Turks died in the same period of conflict.