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Erdogan's visit to Washington 'on hold' following vote to recognise Armenian genocide

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may cancel his visit to Washington [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 November, 2019

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has put his visit to the United States 'on hold', according to a senior Turkish official.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may cancel his planned visit to Washington next week in protest at two bills passed by the US House of Representatives, one of which recognised the Armenian genocide

A senior Turkish official told Reuters: "These steps seriously overshadow ties between the two countries. Due to these decisions, Erdogan's visit has been put on hold."

Erdogan was invited to Washington on 13 November by President Donald Trump.

The Turkish president, when asked by reporters last week, said he had not yet made up his mind about whether to go through with a visit to the US.

"I haven't made my decision yet, there is a question mark," he said.

Erdogan slammed the recognition by the US House of Representatives of the "Armenian genocide" as "worthless" and the "biggest insult" to the Turkish people.

His Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also suggested Tuesday's resolution was "revenge" for Turkish actions in Syria.

"From here I am addressing US public opinion and the entire world: this step which was taken is worthless and we do not recognise it," Erdogan said in a televised speech.

"In our faith, genocide is definitely banned," he said. "We consider such an accusation to be the biggest insult to our people."

Turkey strongly denies the accusation of genocide and says that both Armenians and Turks died as a result of the First World War.

It puts the death toll in the hundreds of thousands as opposed to the Armenian number of 1.5 million Armenians.

Tuesday's vote was a first for the US Congress, where similar measures with such direct language have been introduced for decades but never passed.

The measure on Armenia passed alongside a bill that imposes sanctions over Ankara's assault on Kurdish-controlled territory in northeastern Syria that was made possible by the withdrawal of American troops.

Read more: Turkey sanctions signal Trump's weakness as impeachment looms

"The US House is trying to take revenge over the agreements we signed with Washington and Moscow," referring to accords ensuring the withdrawal of Kurdish militia from areas in northern Syria, Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by Turkish media.

Erdogan said the House vote was politically motivated, and hinted that the Turkish parliament would pass a counter resolution.

He did not specify what this would include but in previous speeches he has touched on the mistreatment of Native Americans.

"A country whose history is full of the stain of genocide and slavery neither has the right to say anything nor to lecture Turkey," he said Wednesday.


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