The U.S. House of Representatives, Congress' lower chamber, may vote on an "Armenian genocide" resolution on Tuesday, but as time passes, the chances of the bill passing the full House decreases.
The Armenian National Committee of America, the largest and most influential U.S. Armenian group, reported on its website Friday that "the House is set to vote on the genocide resolution,” without giving a specific time.
The House, which failed to pass the measure Friday, is scheduled to meet next on Tuesday.
Armenia claims up to 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed in 1915 under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey denies this, saying that deaths were the result of civil strife that erupted when Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia.
Suat Kınıklıoğlu, Turkey-U.S. inter-parliamentary friendship group chairman and a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, told broadcaster CNNTürk in an interview late Friday: “If the resolution comes to a House floor vote, it will pass.”
Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review that “time is in Turkey’s favor.”
“President [Barack] Obama's administration is putting serious pressure on [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi to not schedule a vote. As time passes, pressure will increase on Pelosi, and eventually she may decline from holding a vote on this matter," one anonymous source told the Daily News.
ANCA earlier this week launched a grassroots campaign to urge the House of Representatives to pass the resolution before the term of the current Congress expires around the end of the year. ANCA urged its tens of thousands of members to send messages to Pelosi and individual House members in support of the approval of the resolution, which calls for U.S. recognition of the World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as "genocide."
The House Foreign Affairs Committee in March narrowly passed the measure, and the House leadership in September took the bill to its agenda of a potential voting process. The new Congress elected on Nov. 2 will take office on Jan. 3, and any congressional sessions between Nov. 2, the time of the last elections, and the new year are called "lame duck" sessions.
Under contemporary conditions, any meeting of Congress that occurs between a congressional election in November and the following Jan. 3 is a lame duck session. The significant characteristic of a lame duck session is that its participants are the sitting members of the existing Congress, not those who will be entitled to sit in the new Congress.
The opposition Republican Party won the House's control in the midterm congressional election on Nov. 2, and the Armenians hoped to schedule a full House floor vote on the "genocide" bill before Pelosi cedes her post to Republican John Boehner, the present House minority leader, who will become the new House speaker in the new year.
Turkey warns that its bilateral relationship with the United States will deteriorate in a major and lasting way if the U.S. administration or Congress adopts a "genocide" measure. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on late Friday to discuss the matter, Turkish officials said