Turkey Warns US Over Armenian Genocide Issue

ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkey’s powerful National Security Council warned on Friday of “active measures” if the US continues tentative steps to recognize that Turks committed the genocide of Armenia’s 85 years ago.

The military-dominated council is constitutionally an advisory body but wields enormous influence over governmen’s and Turkey’s foreign policy.

Turkish officials bristled last week when a US Congressional subcommittee approved a resolution calling on President Bill Clinton to “characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenia’s as genocide.”

“The Turkish Republic is gradually taking necessary precautions against those activities. As events proceed–more active measures will be taken,” the council said after a regular monthly meeting. The United States is a close NATO and political ally of Turkey.

The council did not elaborate on the measures but local media reported the officials were mulling a series of steps including closing an air corridor to eastern neighbor Armenia.

“It is to everyone’s benefit–especially the Armenian administration and people–to know that neither of the parties can profit from sowing the seeds of hatred and creating false issues between the two peoples who have to live together in the same geographical region,” the council said.

Turkey is a major US arms purchaser and also hosts US and British planes that enforce a no-fly zone over northern Iraq.

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