(AP) - The speaker of Turkey's parliament, Bulent Arinc, said Thursday that the U.S. Congress should avoid allowing political considerations affect historical judgments - implicitly urging lawmakers not to recognize the World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide.
"We find it wrong that the U.S. Congress should be forced into a position of passing judgment on historical issues," Arinc said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
Armenia accuses Turkey of genocide in the killings of up to 1.5 million of its people between 1915 and 1923 as part of a campaign to force them out of eastern Turkey. Turkey denies this. Several countries have declared the killings a genocide and there have been calls from Armenians worldwide for the U.S. Congress to do the same.
Arinc said it was important to oppose "such narrow-minded attempts." He said Turkey is ready to establish an independent commission to investigate the killings. Arinc offered a generally upbeat view of U.S.-Turkey relations. "What unites us is far more pronounced than what may divide us," he said.