Genocide bill divides US and Turkey

Ankara is deeply unhappy about an effort in the US Congress to pass a bill declaring the 1917 massacre of Armenians by the Turks to be a case of genocide.

Genocide bill divides US and Turkey

Ankara is deeply unhappy aboutan effort in the US Congress to pass a bill declaring the 1917 massacre ofArmenians by the Turks to be a case of genocide. Turkey has warned it could severmilitary ties if the law goes through.

A push in the United States Congress to pass a bill condemning the 1915Armenian massacre under the Ottoman Empire as a case of genocide is threateningto put yet another strain on ties between Turkeyand the US,which are already strained.

Turkeyhas threatened to take dramatic steps against its NATO partner if the billpasses, including a curtailing of military cooperation between the twocountries. "The consequences of such a step would go beyond the imaginableand would have a lasting effect," the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara warned last week.

Mehmet Dulger, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee in the Turkishparliament as a member of the ruling AKP party, warned that Turkey mighteven go so far as to restrict American access to Incirlik Air Base.

The base is of major strategic importance to the US,which uses it to supply its troops in Iraqand Afghanistan.Ankara's refusal in 2003 to permit US troops tocross into northern Iraqthrough Turkeytriggered the current tensions.

For its part, the Bush administration is seeking to stop Congress frompushing through the resolution. In a March 7 letter, Secretary of StateCondoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned leading members ofCongress about the potential fallout the bill could have for US-Turkishrelations.

And recently, Rice cautioned that the US should not get involved in thedispute over the mass-killings, which allegedly resulted in the deaths ofas many as 1.5 million Armenians.

In February, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Yasar Buyukanit,chief of the general staff for the Turkish Armed Forces, began a politicaloffensive against Washington, saying that Ankara considers themassacre to be a tragic act of violence that happened in the context of World WarI but not genocide.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House,made her view very clear: She didn't even receive Foreign Minister Gul.

Source:Agencies
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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