Turkey Reacts to Genocide Bill in Congress

ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkey–angered over last Thursday passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution by House Sub-committee on Foreign Operation and Human rights–announced over the weekend that the Turkish National Security Agency will formulate a plan to address this issue–after Thursday–when the bill is expected to be voted on by the House International Relations Committee.

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that legalization of "so-called genocide on Armenia’s" will negatively affect Turkey-US relations and destroy peace and stability in Caucasus.

The General Staff and Foreign Ministry evaluated the recent developmen’s and decided to prepare an “action plan“. At the first stage– increase in embargo on Armenia and closure of air corridor which is kept open as a beau jest will be in question. Sources said that the action plan would have both military and political dimensions–and within this framework–the current situation and future of Turkey’s relations with Armenia and the US would be evaluated.

The framework of the action plan was prepared at a meeting of the Foreign Ministry and General Staff officials in Ankara. The plan which includes controlled and simple reaction foresees new sanctions against Armenia and pressure on American companies bidding for Turkish Armed Forces` tenders.

Diplomatic observers said that Turkey was planning to undertake a plan in response to a possible approval of the Genocide Resolution. This plan reportedly also involves ending the mandate of the Operation Northern Watch and curbing the use of the Incirlink airbase by US forces.

Ending the mandate–Turks said–would signal that Turkey may appoint diplomatic personnel in Iraq–a provision prohibited by the mandate.

Meanwhile–Turkish Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said on Sunday that legislative assemblies couldn’t decide on historical events.

Speaking at a press conference–Turk said there would be presidential and congress elections in the United States in November. He stated that the bill was used as a domestic policy material in order to guarantee more votes in the states which were densely inhabited by Armenia’s.

"There are ongoing activities to have the so-called genocide recognized in also other countries," he added.

"Legislative assemblies cannot decide on historical events. The allegations in this bill are biased and subjective. It never mentions the cruelty of Armenia’s. If there is Yerevan behind the Armenian lobby in the United States–we should expect such incidents to grow. Armenian allegations are based on distorted facts. Objective historians’ statemen’s on this subject do not support their claims. Some sad things occurred during World War I but they were never unilateral. Therefore–Turkey should open its archives to all objective historians for studying. Turkey should also announce what happened during those years to the whole world. Only then we can disprove their baseless allegations."

Turk said Armenia’s would ask Turkey to compensate for the losses of 1.5m people who were allegedly killed. "And they will not be satisfied by that–they will also ask for the land that they claim to be theirs for 2,500 years. Turkey will not accept any of these deman’s," Turk said and stressed that the bill would not have any contribution to peace.

"As long as they have this attitude–they cannot expect good-neighborly relations between Turkey and Armenia. If the United States passes this law–this is against the friendly relations and the alliance between the two countries. The bill would harm both US-Turkey relations–NATO alliance and the whole Western world. Therefore–we are hoping that the USA would make a right decision. We are hoping that the USA will act with common sense. If the bill is passed–Turkey would not hesitate to take every necessary measure," he said.

Meanwhile–demonstrators in Turkey’s southern city of Adana on Sunday burnt an Armenian flag and American-made goods to protest a move by US lawmakers to recognize the 1915 killings of Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire as genocide–the Anatolia news agency reported.

The demonstration–organized by 16 non-governmental groups–was staged in front of the US consulate in the city.

"We strongly condemn the decision of the subcommittee–which distorts history," said a spokesman for the demonstrators.

He called on the Turkish people to boycott US products if the House approves the draft bill.

Turkey has also established a research center to study allegations of an Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire that have strained its ties not only with Armenia but also with its key ally–the US–Anatolia news agency reported Sunday.

The center for Turco-Armenian relations and genocide research was founded by the Ataturk University in Erzurum in eastern Turkey–the scene of a controversial crackdown on Armenia’s during the dissolution years of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s.

The foundation of the institute comes at a time when tempers are running high between Turkey and the United States following the approval Thursday of a draft bill recognizing the 1915 killings of Armenia’s as a genocide in a House of Representatives sub-committee.

The center–to be inaugurated on October 4–will carry out studies into the disputed period of history–evaluate documen’s and findings and make them known to the international public–its head Erol Kurkcuoglu said–according to Armenian relations and genocide claims to be manipulated in politics. We aim at shedding light on history with historic documen’s and we have plenty of them," he added.

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