Turkey, US Discuss “1915”

383012Recent negotiations over Cyprus and the 1915 incidents were at the top of the agenda during the new U.S. ambassador’s courtesy visit with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara on Tuesday, diplomatic sources said.

According to sources, the 1915 incidents and the Cyprus issue were the main topics in the meeting between newly-appointed Ambassador John Bass and Foreign Minister Cavuşoğlu.

Çavuşoğlu explained Turkey’s sensitivity toward the 1915 incidents, and said that if the issue came on the U.S. agenda, it may hurt bilateral relations, diplomatic sources said.

The 1915 incidents took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the empire. The uprisings came about after a decision by the empire to relocate Armenians in eastern Anatolia.

The Armenian diaspora and the state of Armenia have both described the incidents as a “genocide” and have asked for compensation.
In a speech last April, U.S. President Barack Obama used the expression “Meds Yeghern,” meaning “Great Catastrophe” in Armenian, to characterize the incidents of 1915 instead of “genocide.”

In April, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then the prime minister, offered his condolences to the Armenians who died during the 1915 incidents. The move was considered the beginning of a normalization process between Turkey and Armenia.

Sources also said the U.S. wanted the negotiation process between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to continue over the disputed island of Cyprus.

The Greek-Cypriot administration suspended the most recent talks on October 7 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor an oil-and-gas exploration mission off the Cyprus coast.