Obama Touts Turkey Ties, Parries Genocide Issue
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 8:00 AM CDT
President Barack Obama, left, smiles at his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, right, during a ceremony at the Cankaya presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, April 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama reaffirmed the strength of US-Turkish ties at a press conference in Ankara this morning, touting Turkey as a nation with “similar principles” to the US, and asking for its help in ending the Iraq war. But things got awkward when talk turned to Armenian genocide, which Obama has in the past called a “widely documented fact.” “Well, my views are on the record, and I have not changed views,” Obama said today, carefully avoiding repeating the word “genocide.”

Obama said he was encouraged that the ongoing dialogue between Armenia and Turkey could “resolve a whole host of long-standing issues, including this one.” Beyond that, the trip was a friendly affair, highlighted by Obama’s visit to the tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. “I’m honored to pay tribute to his name,” Obama said, laying a wreath on the grave.