Ankara must have known its new positioning in Middle East politics, which angered Israel, will have some sort of consequences. After all, the Israelis never expected that their supposedly close Turkish allies would lobby international public opinion to condemn Israeli war crimes in Gaza. The highlight of the new Turkish attitude was when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walked out of a panel discussion, in Davos World Economic Forum last year, to protest Israeli President Shimon Peres' defence of Israel's devastating offensive on Gaza.
But Turkey apparently never anticipated that the consequences of its new Middle East policy would come in a politically-motivated resolution passed on Thursday by a US House committee calling the Ottoman-era massacre of Armenians "genocide."
The US has been against the label for years, even as some European nations passed such resolutions few years ago. The move by the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has understandably angered Ankara, which recalled its ambassador. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on President Barack Obama to block the resolution.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed during First World War by their Ottoman rulers as the empire was falling apart. Turkey argues 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in what was a civil strife when Armenians rose up for independence and sided with invading Russian troops.
The US has actually backed last October's talks between Turkey and Armenia to end decades of hostility. The two countries also signed a deal to establish diplomatic relations and open their border.
Thus, the timing is calling into question the motive behind the committee's resolution, especially when the sponsors of the bill are three well-known pro-Israel lawmakers. The Turks should have known that this was coming. Other countries in the region, despite their close relations to the US, were faced with similar ‘political extortion' tactics from pro-Israeli members of the US Congress. Welcome to the Middle East politics.