Bush warned over genocide Bill

Turkey Materials 5 October 2007 21:20

( News.com.au ) TURKISH Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told US President George W. Bush that ties between the two countries would be hurt if the US Congress passed a Bill branding the 1915 mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks "genocide", Turkish television reported today.

Mr Erdogan , who issued a similar warning earlier this year, made the comment in a telephone call which he made to Mr Bush, news channels CNN Turk and NTV reported.

The Bush administration opposes the resolution on the events in 1915 as the Ottoman Empire broke apart, but the US Congress is now dominated by the Democratic Party and has become more influenced by the Armenian diaspora .

Turkey is a key NATO ally of Washington and a moderate Muslim country whose support it needs in the region as it fights Iraqi insurgents and confronts Iran over its nuclear program.

A senior Turkish lawmaker has also warned previously that Ankara could consider restricting the US military's use of Incirlik air base, a logistics hub for the Middle East, if the Bill is passed.

Turkey has already sent delegations to the US in a bid to halt the resolution.

Turkish media reported today that the bill would be taken up by Congress's Foreign Relations Committee on October 10.

Turkey denies a systematic genocide of Armenians took place, saying large numbers of Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in inter-ethnic fighting as the Ottoman Empire collapsed during WWI.