The Turkish opposition called for the government on Tuesday to halt the reconciliation process with Armenia following the recognition by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
Last week, following almost six hours of heated debates, the committee voted 23-22 in support of a resolution condemning as genocide the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Turks during World War I.
The U.S. resolution raised a storm in international diplomacy, posing a threat for the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process, which has been underway since October 2009.
An agreement on the restoration of frozen diplomatic relations and reopening borders, signed by the two countries' foreign ministers during a meeting in Switzerland, is still to be ratified by the two countries' parliaments.
Deniz Baykal, the leader of the Turkish opposition Republican People's Party, called for the parliament on Tuesday to recall the reconciliation protocols from the Turkish legislature. He reiterated that the signing of the agreement would be "inexpedient" and its implementation "impossible" as long as Yerevan maintained its "unfriendly" attitude towards Turkey.
"Now, it's necessary to exclude the protocols, which have no value, from the parliament's agenda," he said.
The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since Armenia became independent following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in a show of support for Azerbaijan following a bloody conflict over Nagorny Karabakh, in which some 35,000 died on both sides. The largely ethnic Armenian region in Azerbaijani territory has remained in Armenian control.
The genocide issue has been a major obstacle to reviving ties between the two nations. Many political forces in Armenia have denounced the expected reconciliation with Turkey, which rejects the genocide label, as treason.
The U.S. resolution triggered fierce criticism from Turkey. Ankara recalled its newly appointed ambassador to the United States, Namik Tan, for consultations, while President Abdullah Gul said his country would "not be responsible for the negative results of this vote."
Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey's far-right Nationalist Movement Party, said the Armenian-Turkish protocols should be recalled from the Turkish parliament before April 24, the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
On April 23, the full U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the resolution.
Bahceli said relations with Armenia should be frozen and the planned visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the United States cancelled.
U.S. authorities have pledged to take efforts to block the controversial resolution, fearing it could alienate Washington's NATO ally, whose help the White House considers invaluable in solving confrontations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
ANKARA, March 9 (RIA Novosti)