Turkish Foreign Minister Gül: "We cannot contain the public" if U.S. Congress acknowledges Armenian genocide
The bill in question can be found here, attached to a press release from the Armenian Assembly of America. "Gül’s serious mistake," by Cüneyt Ülsever for Turkish Daily News, with thanks to Andy Bostom:
One of the goals of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's visit to the United States was to prevent, to whatever extent possible, the seemingly inevitable passing of the Armenian genocide bill by Congress.
The minister's efforts in this cause, even if they prove to be in vain, are both a consequence of his rights and his responsibility. The passing of this bill in Congress will deal the biggest blow in history to U.S.-Turkey relations. It is the minister's responsibility to warn against such a situation.
However, I think that one of his remarks was unfortunate and very open to misinterpretation and use as provocation.
“…Gül said that, in the case that the [Armenian] bill is accepted at the House of Representatives, there will be ‘a real shock in Turkey' and that the Turkish government could not contain the demands by the public to halt cooperation with the United States…” (Hürriyet Web site, Feb. 08).
This remark is truly unfortunate at a time when Turkish public opinion has been divided over the Hrant Dink murder, the concepts of good and evil have been mixed, the public is on edge, ethnic nationalism is gaining pace, and a general climate of pessimism prevails.
The bill will most probably pass in Congress, which will vote on it before Apr. 24. Around this date Turkey will be choosing its 11th president; perhaps preparing for Abdullah Gül's term as prime minister.
The words Gül has pronounced only to alert the United States can be manipulated in an anti-American or anti-Armenian a provocation in the future, claiming they are “the orders of the minister.” The goal of this article is to prevent such a provocation with an “early warning” system and save the minister from such accusations.
I expect there to be all sorts of provocations in the time leading up to the presidential elections. I think that political figures in particular need to pay a lot of attention to their remarks.
I wrote this article thinking that the politicians' competition of late about “who is more nationalist?” is generating an environment and creating an excuse for these troubled times.