Turkey mulls cutting military ties with U.S. over genocide vote
( RIA Novosti ) - Turkey is considering the suspension of military cooperation with the U.S. after a House of Representatives committee adopted a resolution classing the 1915 massacre of some 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.
The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee passed the document on Wednesday despite opposition from President Bush. Turkey is a key NATO ally and a crucial U.S. partner in operations in Iraq.
The Turkish NTV television channel said Turkey's final reaction to the document would be announced after discussions in parliament scheduled for early next week.
NTV said Turkey might restrict U.S. use of a joint air base in Incirlik, close off its air space to U.S. warplanes, and ban Armenian aircraft from flying over its territory. The majority of supplies for U.S. troops in Iraq, including fuel and military hardware, pass through Turkey.
The U.S. resolution has triggered an angry response from Ankara, which insists that the deaths and deportations of Armenians at the end of the Ottoman period were caused by civil war rather than deliberate genocide. However, the majority of Western academics qualify the massacre as genocide.
The Turkish government released a statement on Wednesday condemning the move by the House of Representatives, saying that Ankara could not admit a crime the Turkish people never committed.
The press service of Turkish President Abdullah Gul quoted him as saying that the U.S. resolution was "petty domestic politics rejecting calls to common sense."
Ankara previously froze military cooperation with France after its parliamentarians passed a similar resolution.
Adolf Hitler is believed to have referred to the massacre of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey when speaking of his plans for the massacre of Polish-speaking men, women and children, saying, "Who, after all, remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?"
Turkish scholars dispute the authenticity of the quote.