Turkey Ponders Counter-Action if US Adopts Armenian Genocide Bill
Turkey said Wednesday that it was working on counter-moves against its key ally the United States and Armenia if US legislators adopted a bill recognizing the controversial 1915 killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
"Against a possible negative outcome, naturally, we are contemplating measures and we are re-evaluating those previously outlined," foreign ministry spokesman Huseyin Dirioz told a press conference.
Much to Turkey's anger, a House of Representatives subcommittee approved last Thursday a draft bill recognizing as genocide the controversial crackdown on Armenians, despite the vocal opposition of the Washington administration.
The text will be voted in the House International Relations Committee on Thursday, and if adopted, will be taken up by the full House.
Turkey's counter-action would be drawn up on a basis "that will not harm Turkey's national interests, will not play into the hands of Armenia and Armenian circles, and will take into account the special relationship between Ankara and Washington," Dirioz said.
He declined to comment on specific measures in the package.
Turkey's most influential decision-making body, the National Security Council, will also discuss counter-moves against Armenia and the United States when it convenes for its monthly meeting Friday.
Turkey has warned the United States that the adoption of the bill would seriously harm the friendly ties between the two countries, and further damage Ankara's already chilly relations with Yerevan.
In a rare comment on foreign affairs, the head of Turkey's army, General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, said Wednesday that "before passing judgement on the history of others, nations should first look into their own histories" -- in an apparent reference to the US massacres of native Americans.
"If they have worse incidents in their history, they should move to clear these incidents first," the general said.
Turkey categorically rejects claims of genocide, saying that thousands of Turks also died in what was internal fighting during the dissolution years of the Ottoman Empire.
Armenia maintains that up to 1.3 million of its people were massacred, while Turkey puts the figure at around 300,000.
Turkey does not maintain diplomatic relations with Armenia due to Yerevan's international campaign for the recognition of its genocide claims and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan, a close ally of Turkey – ANKARA (AFP)
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