The U.S. Senate passed a resolution on Thursday recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide. The measure, which President Donald Trump’s allies in the Senate had repeatedly blocked, is not legally binding. It is merely a symbolic step. For the resolution, which Turkey strongly condemned, to become law, it must be adopted by the House of Representatives and signed by President Trump.
Judging by this most recent development, which came shortly after a sanctions bill, the Senate wants to make progress in its anti-Turkey campaign before Christmas break. There is a similar atmosphere in the House of Representatives. So Trump, who finds his foreign policy powers restricted, has a difficult task: Find a way to mitigate the damage senators have inflicted on Turkey-U.S. relations. The U.S. president will have to stop Congress and other American institutions from sabotaging his agreements with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Unfortunately, fixated on the domestic front, Congress has no problem taking steps that fuel anti-Americanism in Turkey. Let’s assume that Washington has legitimate concerns about the Russian S-400 air defense system and its impact on American air superiority. How can we account for the Senate’s recognition of the so-called genocide? At this rate, scholars of Turkey-U.S. relations in Washington will end up writing books on what the Americans did and who lost Turkey.
Meanwhile, Libya will be on Turkey’s busy foreign policy agenda in 2020. The country has been divided and unstable since 2011 when NATO-backed revolts toppled Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.
Although Fayez al-Sarraj founded a new government under a political agreement recognized by the U.N., forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar have prevented the reunification of Libya that is in pieces. Today, Haftar is gearing up for a "final offensive" to capture the capital Tripoli, with military support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia.
Turkey, which had stopped a similar assault in April, has recently signed two memoranda of understanding – one on military cooperation and the other on the demarcation of maritime jurisdictions – with the Tripoli government. President Erdoğan has since said Turkey would consider deploying troops in Libya if Sarraj’s government were to extend an invitation, raising eyebrows around the world.
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