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Turkey Rejects New Pressure To Recognize Armenian Genocide


(AFP, AP) - Turkey on Friday rejected a resolution adopted by parliament in Argentina, the latest example of international pressure on Ankara to recognize as genocide the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.

In a related move, Turkey's parliament speaker Bulent Arinc postponed a trip to Moscow to protest a resolution by Russia's State Duma, or lower house of parliament, likewise recognizing the Armenian genocide in late April. Arinc was scheduled to travel to Russia around mid-June.

"We denounce and reject the accusation of genocide formulated on April 20by the senate of Argentina," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement. Noting that Turkey had explained to Argentina "at the highest levels the problems that could be caused by such a resolution," it said the Argentinian senate had "acted irresponsibly in adopting a text replete with historical errors."

On April 25, the Turkish government urged public agencies and civic groups to join an "all-out effort" against what it called the "baseless allegations" that 1.5 million Armenians perished in orchestrated killings between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart.

Ankara counters that 300,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in "civil strife" during World War I when the Armenians rose against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops.

The European Union has warned that relations between Armenia and Turkey will likely affect negotiations on Ankara's bid to join the EU.

On April 27, the Turkish parliament cancelled a series of exchange visits with Polish lawmakers in protest at a similar resolution adopted by Poland’s parliament.
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