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Turkey upset by WWI 'genocide' label

Aug. 24, 2007 at 3:17 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan says he is concerned about a U.S. Jewish organization labeling the World War I killing of Anatolian Armenians as genocide.

Erdogan said during a phone conversation with Israeli President Shimon Peres that he sees "futility" in the Anti-Defamation League's decision to call the 1915 killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians a genocide, Today's Zaman reported Friday.

Peres promised Erdogan during their conversation that he would "advocate Turkey's position on the issue in the U.S."

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Ministry sources in Jerusalem said a meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Israel's outgoing ambassador to Turkey, Pinhas Avivi, became "shrill" when the foreign minister expressed his government's "anger and disappointment" over the Anti-Defamation League's decision, Haaretz reported Friday.

The ministry source said Gul told Avivi that "Turkey knows Israel was not responsible for the Anti-Defamation League's announcement, but is disappointed because Israel could have done something to prevent it."

Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, said the decision to label the killings as genocide came after discussions on the subject with historians and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor.

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