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Turkey Protests US Vote on Armenian Resolution


The vote in a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives calling the massacre of Armenians in World War I by Ottoman Turks a genocide has caused outrage in Turkey. The Bush administration opposed the resolution, which is non-binding. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul for VOA that Turkey has recalled its ambassador for consultations.

Turkey's political leadership was quick to condemn the genocide resolution that passed in the house foreign affairs committee.

In a statement early Thursday, President Abdullah Gul said U.S. politicians closed their ears to calls for reason and once again sought to sacrifice big problems for small domestic political gain.

In another statement, the government condemned the decision and said it cannot accept being accused of something it has not done.

Later in the day, Turkey's Foreign Ministry announced it has recalled its ambassador to Washington, Nabi Sensoy, for consultations.

On the streets of Istanbul, people expressed strong feelings against the committee's resolution, which is non-binding.

"We never make genocide in this land, never, never. I am just telling truth," one man said. "They are just making politics, they are just showing world, we are hooligans, we are bad people, we love the genocide we love to kill. They are just showing the people like that. That's why I am angry."

Just before the U.S. vote, hundreds of people protested outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul. There was also a demonstration in the capital, Ankara.

Feelings are running high in Turkey, both among political leaders and the public.

Ankara does not deny that Armenians were killed, but says the killings were a result of a civil war in which many Turks died as well.

Nineteen countries around the world have officially recognized the massacre as a genocide.

The fact that the U.S., one of Turkey's closest allies, is debating the issue has led to a sense of betrayal here.

The U.S. Embassy has issued a security warning to American residents in Turkey.

Pressure on the government in Ankara to retaliate if the U.S. resolution is passed by the full House and the Senate could become irresistible. Turkey has already warned President Bush of far reaching consequences.

One of those consequences could involve American operations at the Turkish air-base of Incirluk. The base is a logistical hub for U.S. forces, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Government members and a source within the Turkish Foreign Ministry have warned that support at the base could be curtailed.

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