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09 02 2007 - US-Turkey relations set to worsen over Iraq and Armenian
US-Turkey relations set to worsen over Iraq and Armenian 'genocide' By Guy Dinmore in Washington and Vincent Boland in Ankara

Published: February 9 2007 02:00 | Last updated: February 9 2007 02:00

Turkey's strained relationship with the Bush administration is likely to worsen after its foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, failed to make significant progress on Ankara's main objectives in Washington this week.

Disagreements, centred on Iraq and a resolution proposed in the US Congress that would officially recognise the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians as genocide, threaten to intensify anti-American sentiment in Turkey, while raising concerns in the US about a possible Turkish military intervention in
northern Iraq.

Analysts suggest the disputes could undermine US efforts to enlist Turkey's support in isolating Iran, an issue that Dick Cheney, US vice-president, is
believed to have raised.

Mr Gul's week-long visit to the US had three main aims: to get a firm US commitment to act against anti-Turkish PKK militants in northern Iraq; to postpone a referendum due this year on the status of Iraq's Kurdish-claimed and oil-rich city of Kirkuk; and to lobby against the Armenia resolution.

"Gul will not leave Washington a very happy man," said Bulent Aliriza, analyst with the CSIS think-tank. "Relations will take a hit."

Mr Gul told reporters that the proposed genocide resolution - which is backed by key lawmakers, including Nancy Pelosi, Democratic speaker of the House - posed a "real threat" to US-Turkey relations.

"It really is a nightmare for us and for you. It will overshadow and spoil everything between us," he warned.


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