Turks appear to set conditions for relations with US

Turkish ambassador indicates recognition of Armenian genocide claims will harm Ankara-Washington ties.

armenian genocide 224 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
armenian genocide 224 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Turkish ambassador to the US, Nabi Sensoy, told a group of American reporters on Friday that he hoped the new US administration would recognize the importance of the so-called Armenian issue to Turkey and the negative effects that a recognition of Armenian claims might have for Turkish-US relations, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported. In 1915, the Ottoman Empire, on whose ruins modern Turkey is built, launched a campaign against the country's Armenian minority which lived in the eastern part of the country, that left an estimated one and a half million Armenians dead and even more fleeing the country. So far Turkey has refused to recognize the claim of responsibility sought by Armenians. In the Turkish media, the events are described as an armed struggle between the Ottoman Empire and Armenian nationals backed by Russia which left 300,000 dead on each side. The coverage of the issue is the subject of one of the most controversial laws of Turkish media, article 301, under which it is illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish nation and Turkish government institutions. The law has been severely criticized by media freedom organizations, as well as the European Union, which Ankara wants to join. US President Barack Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all pledged during last year's US election campaign that they would recognize the Armenian claim. In 2007, Sensoy was recalled to Ankara to protest the attempts to have the Armenian claim recognized by Congress.