US Armenian group hails ’apology’ .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} RELATED STORIES
Conflicting issues between Turkey and Armenia
WASHINGTON-The Armenian National Committee of America, or ANCA, the largest U.S. Armenian group, praised the campaign by a group of intellectuals in Turkey to collectively apologizing for the 1915 incidents in the Ottoman Empire on Tuesday.

"The efforts of those courageous parliamentarians and historians in Turkey who have placed the Armenian genocide center-stage must be commended," said the ANCA communications director, Elizabeth Chouldjian, according to an ANCA statement.

Armenian community wants formal recognition
"By the same token, the campaign by Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and other Turkish leaders to quash honest discussion of the murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 must not be rewarded. Silence by the international community will be misinterpreted by Turkey’s leadership as support for their genocide denial agenda," she said.

"Only by formally recognizing the Armenian genocide can the United States and democratic countries around the world send a clear message that they stand with the voices of truth in Turkey," Chouldjian said.

The apology campaign, launched by a group of intellectuals earlier this month, has caused controversy in Turkey, with government leaders, most politicians, the military and retired ambassadors and other diplomats opposing the move.

The retired diplomats referred to the assassination of dozens of Turkish diplomats by Armenian terrorists throughout the world in the 1970s and 1980s, saying the apology campaign was wrong and misleading.

Last week the Armenian Assembly of America, the second largest U.S. Armenian group, said the apology campaign effectively meant the beginning of a process that would lead to Turkey facing "its genocidal past."

For U.S. Armenians, the top objective is to win formal U.S. recognition of the 1918 incidents as "genocide".

During his election campaign, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama pledged to recognize the incidents as "genocide" if elected president.

Pro-Armenian lawmakers are expected to introduce fresh "genocide" resolutions shortly after the new Congress takes effect Jan. 6.

Formal recognition will hurt bilaretal ties
Turkish government says formal any American recognition of the 1915 incidents as "genocide" will hurt bilateral relations in a major and lasting way.

The Armenian Assembly of America, or AAA, had deemed last week the move by a group of Turkish intellectuals to collectively apologize for 1915 incidents effectively meant the beginning of a process that would lead to Turkey facing "its genocidal past."

"An irreversible trend has commenced in Turkey. Over 12,000 people in Turkey want history to be recorded truthfully, having already signed the Internet-based petition apologizing for what they call the 'great catastrophe' that befell the Armenians of Ottoman Turkey in 1915," said executive director of AAA Bryan Ardouny.