TURKEY PULLS OUT OF CANADIAN MILITARY EXERCISEPROTESTING PRIME MINISTER'S COMMENTS
By CP

Edmonton Sun, Canada
May 10 2006

TORONTO - The Turkish government has pulled out of an international
military air exercise in Canada to protest Prime Minister Stephen
Harper's characterization of a mass killing of Armenians as a genocide,
the Globe and Mail reports.

Officials with the Turkish embassy confirmed Tuesday that a half-dozen
Turkish jet fighters and support aircraft, which were supposed to
take part in the exercise May 17 to June 24 at Canadian Forces Base
Cold Lake in Alberta, have been withdrawn.

The move comes after the Turkish ambassador to Canada, Aydemir Erman,
was recalled to Ankara for discussions on the situation.

When asked whether the decision to withdraw from the military exercise
stemmed from Harper's comments, an official said, "I think one can
draw that conclusion at this point."

"This seems to be related to the not-so-good period of relations we
are going through."

Turkey's anger comes from Harper's recognition last month, on behalf
of the federal government, that Armenians had suffered a genocide at
the hands of Turkey during and after the First World War.

The issue is highly controversial in Turkey, where the government
says the deaths were caused by the war and civil strife.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said the Turks
cancelled their participation on Friday.

"This is a Turkish decision," said communications director Etienne
Allard.

"Exercise Maple Flag is a major training exercise which brings great
benefits to all participants. Turkey is an important NATO ally and
we hope that they will be able to participate in future exercises."

The military exercises will involve about 40 aircraft and pilots from
nine countries - Canada, Germany, France, Britain, the Netherlands,
Sweden, the United States, New Zealand and Singapore.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress