[JURIST] US President George W. Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] spoke by phone Friday about their concerns over potential damage to US-Turkey relations if the US House of Representatives passes HR 106 [PDF text], a resolution labeling the World War I-era killings by Turkish soldiers of over one million Armenians [ANI backgrounder] as genocide. While the controversial measure [JURIST news archive; JURIST comment] seems poised to get enough votes in the Democratic-led House to pass next week, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe [official profile] said that Bush believed the matter to be one "for historical inquiry, not legislation." The Turkish government has previously stated that if the resolution were adopted it might retaliate by taking various steps, including denying the US access to air space and strategic military bases within the country.
The extent of current support for HR 106 in the House has interest groups for both sides ratcheting up lobbying efforts for and against the legislation [AP report]. Turkey has traditionally been highly sensitive to the Armenian issue and has fervently refused to categorize [JURIST report] its own actions as genocide. The Washington Post has more.