As the world anticipates President Obama's upcoming trip to Turkey, the focus of his visit has turned to the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the House. Rep. Adam Schiff is spearheading a drive to adjudicate whether tragic events in the fog of World War I amounted to an Armenian genocide. Just this week, he reiterated hopes the resolution will be more successful under the new administration.
Schiff's resolution is not only a legislative frolic, it is factually misconceived. Many reputable and independent Middle East historians and scholars dispute the genocide characterization, though without minimizing the tragic nature of the mass civilian casualties suffered in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Genocide, like torture or murder, is a question of law to be decided by independent and impartial judges. It should not be a political football exploited by members of Congress to appease special foreign interest constituencies who make handsome campaign contributions.
Rep. Schiff would do history, justice and his constituents a service and relieve himself of a most unnecessary labor by adding his voice to theirs, and ask for the opening of Armenian archives for independent examination, as the Turkish government has done for the Ottoman archives.
Bruce Fein, Resident scholar, Turkish Coalition of America, Washington, D.C.