Turkish politician: Keep quiet about 1915

Dec. 12, 2008 at 8:31 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A top Turkish official warns that other countries could harm relations between Turkey and Armenia by focusing on the 1915 killing of Armenians in Turkey.

Koksal Toptan, the speaker of the Turkish parliament, told Hurriyet in an interview, that parliamentary resolutions calling the 1915 killings "genocide" are problematic for the two nations.

"Politicians and parliaments cannot judge history," Toptan said.

Armenia and Turkey have not had diplomatic relations since Armenia became independent of the Soviet Union in 1991. But President Abdullah Gul visited Yerevan in September.

Toptan said he was concerned about President-elect Barack Obama's victory and his nomination of Hillary Clinton as U.S. secretary of state, since both have supported Armenian groups in the United States.

The Turkish government denies that large numbers of Armenians were deliberately killed in 1915. The word genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer, who cited the killings as one of his inspirations.

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