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Turkey Objects to Obama Statement on Armenian Killings


Turkey's government has objected to U.S. President Barack Obama's statement recognizing the killings of more than a million Armenians during the final years of the Ottoman empire.

Speaking in Bulgaria at a meeting in Sofia, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Saturday that the U.S. president should also have expressed sympathy for the "hundreds of thousands of Turks and Muslims" killed between 1915 and 1923.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry complained that certain points in Mr. Obama's statement were "unacceptable."

On Friday, President Obama released a statement to mark Armenian Remembrance Day that said the mass killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians was one of the "great atrocities" of the 20th century.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama had described the Armenian deaths as genocide, but he has not used that description since taking office.

Mr. Obama also encouraged the Armenian and Turkish people to move toward reconciliation by addressing the facts of the past.

Armenia considers the mass killings genocide by Turkish forces. But Turkey has strongly rejected the genocide claim, saying the Armenian death toll is inflated and that many Turks also were killed during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Armenians say the early 20th century deaths were the result of an orchestrated campaign by Ottoman Turks against their people and are stepping up efforts to have the deaths internationally recognized as genocide.

France, Canada and Switzerland are among the countries that have recognized the genocide claim. Other nations, including the United States, have not.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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