- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2000

Turkish 'inspiration'

Robert Pearson, the new U.S. ambassador to Turkey, hoped to focus on the warm Turkish-American relationship when he presented his credentials to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
He hardly expected to face criticism for the actions of a congressional subcommittee that took sides last week in the touchy issue of the disputed Armenian genocide.
The House International Relations subcommittee on human rights passed a resolution on Thursday that recognized the killings of about 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey from 1915 to 1923 as genocide. Turkey denies there was any attempt to deliberately wipe out the Turkish-Armenian population.
Turkish news reports said Mr. Sezer reiterated Turkey's anger over the resolution in his meeting with Mr. Pearson.
The reports did not reveal the president's exact words, but they could have been blunt, considering what Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said publicly.
Mr. Ecevit said, "Turkey is doing its best for peace in the Caucasus, but taking a position in favor of the Armenian resolution is an extremely ugly and saddening event."
The resolution, which goes to the full committee, calls on President Clinton to condemn Turkey for the killings, but the administration opposes the measure because it could damage U.S.-Turkish relations.
Turkish news reports quoted Mr. Pearson as praising Turkey when he visited the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern, secular Turkish state.
"What Turkey had accomplished during the 20th century was a living example of what people can do to make a better future for themselves," Mr. Pearson wrote in a guest book.

Sharing Jerusalem?

A leading American Jewish organization was demanding the recall of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk even before news broke that his security clearance had been withdrawn over undisclosed security breaches.
The Zionist Organization of America complained last week that Mr. Indyk had contradicted U.S. policy by suggesting that Israel share Jerusalem with a future Palestinian state.
"For the first time in history, a U.S. government official has called on Israel to share its capital, Jerusalem, with [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat, contradicting America's long-standing opposition to dividing Jerusalem," said ZOA President Morton A. Klein.
In a speech last week in Jerusalem, Mr. Indyk had said, "There is no other solution but to share the Holy City."
The ruckus appears to have been forgotten following reports over the weekend that Mr. Indyk, now in Washington, will not be able to return to Israel until an FBI investigation of the purported security breaches is completed.
Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami said yesterday he hoped Mr. Indyk would still be able to play a role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
"Indyk is an outstanding Middle East expert, whom I would compare to a data bank, such is his deep knowledge of the region," Mr. Ben Ami said.
But Ariel Sharon, leader of the opposition Likud bloc, was more hesitant.
"I don't agree with the chorus of praise" for the ambassador, Mr. Sharon was quoted as saying.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Sukhumbhand Paribatra, deputy foreign minister of Thailand, who holds a news conference at the National Press Club.

• Nikolai Bulayev, Oleg Finko and Aleksandr Shubin, members of a Russian parliament delegation on electronic commerce. They hold a 10 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

• Former Polish Minister Bronislaw Geremek, who addresses invited guests at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


• Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor for war crimes committed in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, who will meet with U.N. officials.

• Astrid Fischel, vice president of Costa Rica, who meets with officials of the Inter-American Development Bank.


• Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, who will meet with President Clinton.

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