Domestic politics once again threatens to roil U.S. relations with a key ally. This time the offended nation is Turkey, which is angered and insulted by a U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee vote to label as genocide the deaths of Armenians killed in Turkey nearly a century ago. More troubling still, however, is the prospect of Ankara venting its anger by attacking rebel Kurds in northern Iraq and unleashing yet more violence on an already strained and unstable region.

About 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. This horrific event remains shrouded in controversy, not least because the Turkish government insists that no such mass killing occurred. Rather, it claims the deaths were the result of chaos that accompanied the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and that the violence claimed the lives of many Turks as well. Armenians are not convinced by the Turkish claim and the issue has hung over relations between the two countries.

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