Clinton-Babacan meeting highlights warming US-Turkey ties

Following the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Turkey over the weekend, plans for US President Barack Obama to visit Turkey early next month were announced, which had an immediate chilling effect on many of us – Armenians, who beleived, that Obama will definately use the term Genocide when he makes the traditional April 24 speech to mark mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman empire in 1915, having made the campaign promise on several occasions to the American-Armenian community.

The fact, that Obama visits Turkey in April, days before he would be making the speech on April 24 naturally casts doubts on his sincerity to recognize the Armenian Genocide, even though the Turkey visit is only one of the stops on US President’s first European tour.

Knowing, that Turkey has become increasingly important for the US foreign policy as Clinton-Babacan talks highlighted over the weekend, adds to the worries as well. Hurriet reports:

US Secretary of State Clinton’s visit promises a ’good beginning’ for Washington and Ankara, as the NATOallies develop a real strategic partnership. This new era will be heralded by US President Obama’s visit to Turkey, expected next month

Diplomatic sources said efforts for the U.S. Congress to recognize the killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide did not appear on the agenda of the Clinton-Babacan talks. But a joint statement released following the meeting highlighted U.S. support for “the efforts of Turkey and Armenia to normalize relations.”

Turkey keeps playing the Armenia-Turkey relations card to buy time and stop the US from recognizing the Genocide, saying it would hurt the reconciliation and border opening process. 

Turkey’s foreign minister Ali Babcan himself, on the other hand, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of US recognition of Armenian Genocide, which is one of the biggest unknowns for me in this riddle.

“I still see a risk,” Babacan has said. “Mr. Obama made the promise five times in a row”. 

So what’s it gonna be? Will Obama fulfil his campaign promise, or will he do as many other US presidents before him have done – pursue the biggest gain for US foreign policy and leave the Armenian Diaspora disappointed once again?

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