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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
Turkey recalls ambassador to US
Turkish leftists demonstrate in Istanbul against the US draft resolution
Anti-US protests have been held in Turkey's main cities
Ankara is recalling its ambassador to Washington for consultations amid anger at a vote in Congress labelling the mass killing of Armenians as genocide.

The passing of the resolution by a House committee on Wednesday despite appeals by the Bush administration was denounced by President Abdullah Gul.

Turkey accepts there were mass killings in 1915-17 but denies genocide.

Turkey's foreign ministry said the ambassador would return to Turkey for a stay of "a week or 10 days".

"We are not withdrawing our ambassador," said ministry spokesman Levent Bilman.


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"We have asked him to come to Turkey for some consultations."

US President George W Bush had argued against the resolution, saying its passage would do "great harm" to relations with "a key ally in Nato and in the global war on terror".

Turkey is a regional operational hub for the US military, and some suggest access to Incirlik airbase or other supply lines crucial to US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan could be affected by the row.

The US also fears Turkey may make a military incursion into northern Iraq to neutralise Kurdish separatist guerrillas, who continue to cross the border to ambush Turkish troops there.

'Unacceptable and invalid'

The non-binding vote, passed by 27 to 21 votes by members of the congressional House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the first step towards holding a vote in the House of Representatives.

Armenian refugee mother and child (picture taken 1915-16 by German photographer Armin Wegner; reproduced here by permission of the Armenian National Institute)
A German soldier took photos of Armenian deportees at the time

It was welcomed by Armenian President Robert Kocharyan who said he hoped for "full [US] recognition... of the genocide".

For Turkey's president, the US vote showed that some US politicians had "closed their ears to calls to be reasonable and once again sought to sacrifice big problems for small domestic political games".

"This unacceptable decision of the committee, like similar ones in the past, is not regarded by the Turkish people as valid or of any value," Mr Gul said late on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that the Turkish parliament would discuss allowing military incursions into northern Iraq, possibly next week.

The move comes after an escalation in attacks by the PKK killed almost 30 soldiers and civilians in just over a week.

Mr Erdogan said such authorisation, which would be valid for one year, would ensure all options were available to Turkey in its fight against the PKK.

Burning argument

Last year, the lower house of the French parliament declared the killings of Armenians a genocide and at least 20 countries at various levels of legislation have passed resolutions on the issue.

If you start counting the killing of people in recent history, the situation in Darfur should get top priority
Bob, USA
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Armenia alleges that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed in an organised campaign to force them out of what is now eastern Turkey.

That is strongly denied by Turkey, which says that large numbers of both Turks and Armenians were killed in the chaos surrounding World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when there was an uprising by Armenians.

Earlier on Thursday, the son of murdered Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink was found guilty by a Turkish court of insulting "Turkishness" along with another newspaper editor.

Arat Dink and Serkis Seropyan were convicted after printing Dink's arguments for describing the Ottoman-era killings as genocide.

Turkey's Armenian dilemma
27 Feb 07 |  Europe
Europe diary: Historical guilt
06 Nov 06 |  Europe
Q&A: Armenian 'genocide'
11 Oct 07 |  Europe

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