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Archive for Monday, October 15, 2007

General: Resolution will deeply damage ties

October 15, 2007

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— Turkey's top general warned that ties with the U.S., already strained by attacks from rebels hiding in Iraq, will be irreversibly damaged if Congress passes a resolution that labels the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide.

Turkey, which is a major cargo hub for U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations and warned that there might be a cut in the logistical support to the U.S. over the issue.

"If this resolution passed in the committee passes the House as well, our military ties with the U.S. will never be the same again," Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told the daily Milliyet newspaper.

Despite the general's strong words, it is not clear how far Turkey will go to express its dismay to Washington.

Turkey suspended its military ties with France last year after the French parliament's lower house adopted a bill that that would have made it a crime to deny that the Armenian killings constituted a genocide.

But there is more at stake for NATO's only Muslim member when it comes to its relations with the U.S. The Turkish military, and especially the air force, is heavily dependent on the American defense industry, experts say.

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