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DIPLOMACY > US House of Representatives speaker assures Ankara about Armenian bill

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The speaker of the United States House of Representatives, John A. Boehner, has assured Ankara that the latest bill to recognize the 1915-16 killings of Ottoman Armenians as genocide will not be brought onto the legislative agenda.

“The issue about Armenians comes up from time to time, but don’t worry, our Congress will not get involved in this issue. We don’t write history, we are not historians,” Boehner told reporters after meeting Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek on April 15.

Boehner said bilateral ties between the two countries should be enhanced, and that the U.S. was grateful for Turkey’s support on issues in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, adding that further cooperation between the two countries could still be developed in trade.

For his part, Çiçek said the Armenian issue was a “burden” in relations between Turkey and the U.S., adding that “the past should be left to historians,” and parliaments should “build the present and the future.”

Asked specifically about the Armenian genocide claims, Çiçek said “we are ready to confront our history,” but added that the latest bill submitted to the U.S. Senate “disappointed” Turkey. He also said Turkey and the U.S. were not able to make “regular contacts” on the issue, but they aimed to do so from now on.

Last week, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill recognizing that the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians amounted to genocide.

April/15/2014

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