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    Turkey contacts US ambassador over Obama's April 24 statement

    Hurriyet Daily News with wires
    27.04.2009 - 13:39 | Son Güncelleme: 27.04.2009 - 14:06

    ISTANBUL - The undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey on Monday to express Ankara's uneasiness regarding the President Barack Obama's statement on April 24.

    Obama, who pledged to recognize the Armenian claims regarding the 1915 incident during his presidential campaign, did not use the word "genocide" while describing the events in his annual April 24 statement to mark the "day of remembrance of the Armenian deaths."

     

    Instead, he used the Armenian term for the killings, "Meds Yeghern," which has been variously translated into English as the "Great Calamity" or "Great Disaster." He also branded the events as "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century."

     

    Diplomatic sources said Ertugrul Apakan, undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, expressed Ankara's uneasiness regarding the statement, which ignored the deaths of thousands of Turks during the incidents, according to private ANKA news agency.

     

    Apakan also said some of the expressions Obama used were "unacceptable" and reiterated Turkey's stance that the issue should be resolved by historians, not politicians, Hurriyet daily reported on its Web site.

     

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry, however, did not deliver an official protest to Jeffrey, the reports added.

     

    The issue of the 1915 incidents is a highly sensitive one in both Armenia and Turkey. Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.

     

    Turkey rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

     

    Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate what happened in 1915 and has opened all official archives.

     

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