Turkey chided a U.S. Senate panel on Thursday for backing a resolution condemning the murder in January of prominent Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink, saying the bill was politically motivated.
The mainly symbolic resolution, which can now pass to the floor of the Senate for a vote, has angered Ankara as it makes a reference to the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 and mentions that Dink had faced legal action for writing about them. The resolution, backed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took place as the U.S. Congress weighs whether to debate and back a much more explosive bill that would recognize the Armenian massacres by Ottoman Turks as genocide.
"It is clear that bringing this resolution (on Dink's killing) to the agenda of the Senate serves only to exploit the loathsome murder for political aims by referring to the events of 1915," Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry noted the government had strongly condemned Dink's murder and that large numbers of Turks had taken to the streets of Istanbul at his funeral to show their revulsion.
Dink was shot dead outside his Istanbul office by a young Turkish ultra-nationalist, who later said he had killed Dink for "insulting" Turkey. Several other men have been arrested in connection with the killing. Before his death, Dink had been prosecuted under a controversial law for his writings on the Armenian massacres, a highly sensitive subject in Turkey.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has warned of serious damage to U.S.-Turkish relations if Congress backed the genocide resolution next month. Many other parliaments around the world have passed similar resolutions acknowledging the Armenian killings as genocide.