Pentagon expects no change in Turkish defence ties after genocide recognition

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The Pentagon does not expect military ties with Turkey to be impacted by U.S. President Joe Biden’s recognition of the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide. “We don’t anticipate any change in the military relationship with Turkey,” U.S. Defence Ministry press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Monday, Euronews reported. Biden recognised the mass killings of Armenians during the Ottoman era as genocide on Saturday, in a move that threatens to further complicate fraught relations with Turkey. The governments and parliaments of 32 countries, which also include Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Russia and Brazil have formally recognised the genocide. “The American people honour all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today,” Biden said. Turkey is a NATO ally and there will also be no change in the mission to combat Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, Kirby said. Turkey vehemently opposes the genocide label saying both Turks and Armenians suffered casualties in fighting during World War I. “We reject and denounce (Biden’s statement) in the strongest terms,” the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday. The United States keeps planes, troops and other military assets in Turkey. It controls the Incirlik airbase in the south of the country, from where it has conducted missions to Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S.-Turkish relations have soured in recent years. The United States has backed Kurdish groups in Syria that Ankara says are allied with a terrorist group in Turkey. Turkey provoked U.S. ire in 2019 by purchasing S-400 air defence missiles from Russia, prompting its exclusion from a programme to purchase U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jets.

Ahval

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