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Turkey objects to Obama's view of Armenian killings
By Alexandra Hudson


ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey on Saturday branded "unacceptable" parts of U.S. President Barack Obama's carefully worded statement on the mass killings of Armenians, stressing hundreds of thousands of Turks and Muslims also died.


Obama avoided using the word genocide on Friday in his commemoration of the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915, and welcomed efforts announced by Turkey and Armenia this week to normalize relations.


Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks but denies that up to 1.5 million died and that it amounts to genocide, as Armenia views it.


Speaking in Bulgaria President Abdullah Gul, said of the statement: "There are points on which I disagree. Hundreds of thousands of Turks and Muslims also died in 1915. Everyone's pain must be shared," state-run news agency Anatolian reported.


Turkey's Foreign Ministry echoed his remarks, adding the statement's perception of history was "unacceptable" and appealing for the impartial study of the period.


When he was running for president, Obama, who took office in January, described the killings of Armenians as genocide. But on Friday, in a bid not to upset ties with Turkey, he referred to them as "atrocities."


Armenian American groups criticized Obama for not keeping a campaign pledge to stick to the genocide characterization, but Obama said despite his careful choice of words, his position on the killings remained the same.


"I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed," he said. "My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts."


In a diplomatic breakthrough, Turkey and Armenia said this week they had agreed on a road map to normalize ties after a century of hostility. However pitfalls remain and a backlash from Azerbaijan may still derail a final agreement.


Obama visited Turkey in early April and urged the government to resolve ties with Armenia.


The Obama administration sees Turkey as a key ally whose help it needs to solve confrontations from Iran to Afghanistan.


Turkish officials have warned that any new attempt in the U.S. Congress to brand the killings a genocide could damage U.S.-Turkish ties.


Biker Bob
 
Turkey objects to Obama's view of Armenian killings
It is a great pity that Turkey has responded in this way although there is no quote to suggest that the reaction has been as strong as suggested by the headline.

President Obama has been faithful to the position he laid out when he visited Turkey recently. He condemns the killings but has not repeated his earlier claim that these amounted to genocide. President Gul is correct that during that period in the history of the region there were horrendous killings of muslims, armenians and others (As an ex-resident of the UK I am deeply ashamed of that countries role in the killings that took place in Turkey in the first part of the 20th century.

Turkey's official position is that the archives should be opened and that historians should come to a considered conclusion based on the evidence they contain. This seems a very sensible approach.



The Turkish Republic did not even exist at the time of the killings of Armenians. They took place during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. Why should the Turkish Republic apologise?

The Armenian "genocide" lobby seems to throw more weight than can possibly be justified.
 

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