Hurriyet, one of the leading daily newspapers in Turkey, that also publishes in English, does not reveal the name of the diplomat. However, Umit Enginsoy does write that according to one Turkish diplomat, who spoke over the weekend, Armenian-Americans and their supporters in Congress "think they next have a chance in October, a few weeks before the hotly contested elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate."
While the identity of the diplomat is not revealed what is sad does make sense and worthy of analysis. Especially when you put next to what President Barack Obama said in his April 24th message commemorating the Armenian Genocide.
Midterm elections are coming up in November of 2010. As many Armenian Americans are not satisfied with President Barack Obama's annual April 24 message for avoiding to use the term genocide, many Republican candidates may want to explore this opportunity to get the votes of the powerful U.S. Armenian diaspora. The positions of the Democrats are faltering. This situation may create a very competitive environment where each vote counts.
Democrats will see a big challenge coming from the Republicans. Democrats will want to control the House and the Senate. The republicans will want to regain their former positions in both legislative branches of power.
In this competitive environment many current elected officials and candidates may support the passage of the Armenian Genocide and the U.S. recognition. This makes even more sense if you consider how much Obama said in his message on April 24.
No Genocide, but 1.5 Million Massacred
Historians and political observers in Turkey had been so much focused on if Obama would use the term genocide or no that they missed what the president really said and how much more he said compared to last year. Both this year and last year the U.S. president said his views are known and he has not changed them. His previously known view on the issue is that he has publicly called the events of 1915 as the Armenian Genocide committed by Turks in the beginning of the 20th century. Both last year and this year he used the Armenian term "Mets Yeghern," which in Armenian context refers to the Armenian Genocide and means a great calamity.
However, there is a little more that the president Obama said this year that over the beginning neither the observers in Armenia, nor in Turkey paid attention. The president said "in that dark moment of history, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire."
Indeed, this is the first time that the U.S. president refers to the killings with a concert number of 1.5 million victims, which Armenia says is the correct number of those who were massacred. Turkey denies the genocide claim and says only 300,000 Armenians were killed. As if that is a small number. As Hurriyet puts it in the above mentioned story "his remarks and the concrete number he used for Armenian losses in 1915 were sufficient to show what he believes happened then."
Another point the president mentioned was thanking those people in Turkey who have endangered their lives to save fellow Armenians. This is an important dimension of the entire picture and after Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide this precise aspect that many Turks saved Armenian lives may serve as a base for a historic reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian people.
All of these developments point to Obama's slowly preparing Turkey and Armenia for reconciliation and preparing a ground for calling the events of 1915 as the Armenian Genocide. When will it be depends on Turkey. But one should not discount how much the Armenian vote may be need for both the Democrats and the Republicans in this midterm elections of 2010.
Written by Armen Hareyan