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Top Turkish general warns against US House passage of Armenian genocide resolution

[JURIST] General Yasar Buyukanit [official profile], commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, warned Sunday that US-Turkish ties will be permanently damaged if the US House of Representatives passes a resolution [HR 106 materials; PDF text] labeling as genocide the World War I-era killings of over one million Armenians by Turkish soldiers [ANCA backgrounder; Turkish DC Embassy backgrounder]. The resolution was approved by the House Foreign Relations Committee [JURIST report] last week but has yet to be passed by the full House. The Turkish Milliyet newspaper quoted Buyukanit as saying, "If this resolution passed in the committee passes the House as well, our military ties with the US will never be the same again." Currently, over half of US air cargo and a third of the fuel headed to Iraq travels through Turkey. Potential measures against the US could include denying access to Incirlik air base [official website], denying Turkish airspace access to US aircraft and ending joint military exercises. AP has more. Al Jazeera has regional coverage.

In March, US Air Force Maj. Gen. Robertus Remkes, Director of Strategy, Policy and Assessments at US European Command, expressed similar concern about negative military repercussions [JURIST report] if the US House passed resolution HR 106. Last Wednesday, US President George W. Bush expressed disappointment [press briefing] over the committee decision and urged the full House not to approve the resolution out of concern that it could alienate Turkey, a key US supporter in the war on terror. AP has more. Turkey has long objected [JURIST comment] to any attempts to classify the 1915 killings as a genocide. Several other countries - including France, Canada and Argentina - have nonetheless passed laws or resolutions [BBC backgrounder] to that effect.

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