ANKARA (Hurriyet)—Official Ankara has conveyed its ‘annoyance’ to Washington over a recent visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide Memorial Monument, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily reported Wednesday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu spoke of the complaint in an interview on Wednesday, during which he generally downplayed the visit, calling it a “private program” where Clinton “did not make any official remarks.”
The Foreign Ministry nevertheless “conveyed its annoyance” despite the ‘personal’ nature of the visit, Davutoglu said.
The US Secretary of State was in Armenia over the weekend on a tour of the Caucasus and other former Soviet countries. She visited the Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan on Monday. It is customary for visiting state officials to to pay respects to the victims of the genocide at the memorial.
Clinton paid her surprise visit to the memorial before she departed for Georgia. Secretary Clinton’s visit to the Memorial was shrouded in secrecy with local media barred from providing live coverage. Following her visit to the Memorial, Secretary Clinton proceeded to a meeting with civil society representatives and media outlets, where she discussed the importance of a strong democracy and unfettered media, but did not, apparently, allow for on-the-record comments or questions from participants.
As a presidential candidate, Secretary Clinton was outspoken on the importance of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. In a January 24, 2008 statement, Clinton noted “I believe the horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians constitute a clear case of genocide. . . Our common morality and our nation’s credibility as a voice for human rights challenge us to ensure that the Armenian Genocide be recognized and remembered by the Congress and the President of the United States.”