Turkey denies recalling ambassador to U.S.

Turkey has not recalled its ambassador to the United States, the country's prime minister said on Friday.
ANKARA, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - Turkey has not recalled its ambassador to the United States, the country's prime minister said on Friday.

"I do not have any such information. Possibly, the Foreign Ministry called in the ambassador for consultations, but no one has recalled him," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Turkish NTV television company said on Thursday that Turkey had recalled its ambassador after a U.S. House of Representatives committee passed a resolution labeling the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Levent Bilman, said Ambassador Nabi Sensoy had been recalled "for consultations."

NTV also said the Turkish Navy commander had cancelled his visit to the U.S.

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted 27-21 in favor of the resolution on genocide on Wednesday, in a move that is likely to strain Washington's relations with Turkey, a key NATO ally providing crucial support for U.S. operations in Iraq.

President George Bush and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul warned that the resolution would be a heavy blow to bilateral relations.

Erdogan also said Turkey is ready to "pay the price" for any military campaign in north Iraq against Kurdish insurgents.

He said preparations are under way for such an operation since Turkey "has run out of patience."

Turkey's army has prepared several scenarios of a cross-border operation, a local newspaper said on Thursday.

Turkey's government announced on Tuesday the possibility of a military incursion into Iraq to track down Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters, who have killed 15 Turkish troops since Sunday. The country has been amassing troops near Iraq, launching air raids on and shelling suspected rebel positions along the border.

Scenarios include an advance of 5-10 km into Iraq to gain full control of the border; pinpoint air attacks on suspected separatist bases; air raids on PKK strongholds in the mountains; and combined land operations and air attacks, Hurriyet newspaper reported on Thursday.

Erdogan said on Wednesday that the operation would aim to clear the region of PKK fighters, who currently number about 3,500, but did not say when it could be launched.

Iraq has protested against the planned Turkish military operation on its territory, calling it "aggression against Iraq and its territorial integrity." Erdogan responded that Ankara was not after Iraq's territory or sovereignty, but sought to counter the mounting terrorism threat emanating from the country.

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