Turkey recalls ambassador from Canada over vigil

Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:30am EDT
 
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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Canada for consultation, said a Foreign Ministry source on Wednesday, after Canada's prime minister spoke at a vigil to commemorate the 1915 killing of Armenians.

Premier Stephen Harper gave support on Tuesday to claims that the 1915 killings by Ottoman Turks amounted to genocide, the source said, a term fiercely rejected by Ankara, which says many were killed on both sides.

"The ambassador has been called back is currently going through consultations over what to do. We don't know how long he will be here," the source said.

"He was called back due to the position of Prime Minister Harper who spoke at a commemorative vigil and whose speech recognized (the events of 1915) as genocide," said the Foreign Ministry source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ankara dismisses claims, supported by some countries and academics, that Ottoman Turkish forces killed 1.5 million Armenians in a genocide, commemorated in Armenia on April 24.

The Foreign Ministry source said it was not clear when the ambassador would return to his post.

Turkey and Armenia are engaged in high-level talks to restore ties after the border was closed in 1993. Those talks are backed by the European Union and the United States.

A breakthrough between Turkey and Armenia could help shore up stability in the volatile, oil-rich Caucasus.

(Reporting by Zerin Elci and Thomas Grove in Istanbul)