Turkish Trade Minister Cancels US Trip Over House Panel Vote on Genocide

ANKARA (Hurriyet)–Turkey’s trade minister has canceled a trip to the United States in response to a U.S. House panel vote last week that recommended the House of Representatives recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Zafer Caglayan was scheduled to depart for the U.S. on March 19 with a large business delegation, Hurriyet reported. The governmental decision was made Monday during consultations with the country’s ambassador to Washington, who had earlier been recalled in a show of protest.

Ambassador Namik Tan attended a coordination meeting at the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday and met Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, diplomatic sources told Hurriyet.

Although Davutoglu said the consultations will continue for the next few days, it is unclear when the ambassador will return to Washington.

Speaking to reporters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ decision as “a comedy stunt.”

“As long as the situation does not get any clearer, we will not send our ambassador back to Washington,” he said. “America should not let go of a strategic ally like Turkey over such an issue.”

Erdogan blamed the vote on a combination of “unbecoming” voting procedures in the U.S. Congress and a change of attitude by the “Jewish lobby” to back the resolution.

“The Jewish lobby in the U.S. supported this resolution,” he said, adding that it represented “an attitude change” by Israel’s supporters in contrast to the past.

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