Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thousands of Illegal Armenian Immigrants May Be Expelled from Turkey

"Turkish PM threatens to expel Armenians"
Wed Mar 17, 2010
"Turkey's prime minister has threatened to expel thousands of illegal Armenian immigrants after U.S. and Swedish lawmakers passed votes branding World War One-era killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Muslim Turkey, a NATO member and candidate to join the European Union, recalled its ambassadors to Washington and Stockholm earlier this month after the non-binding votes and warned they could hurt a fragile effort to reconcile with Christian Armenia after a century of hostility.

Asked about the votes in an interview with the BBC Turkish service that was broadcast late on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said: 'There are currently 170,000 Armenians living in our country. Only 70,000 of them are Turkish citizens, but we are tolerating the remaining 100,000.'

'If necessary, I may have to tell these 100,000 to go back to their country because they are not my citizens. I don't have to keep them in my country.'

Commentators have said the U.S. vote could affect Washington's use of the Incirlik Air base in southeast Turkey, which provides vital logistical support for U.S. troops going to and from Iraq."

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