It's up to Turkey, Armenia to resolve history row, says Obama

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US President Barack Obama called on Turkey to address the killings of Armenians in eastern Anatolia nearly a century ago but gave clear signs that he would stay out of the debate, saying it is up to Turkey and Armenia to deal with history.

"History is often tragic. But if unresolved, it can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past," Obama said in an address to the Turkish Parliament, noting that although there are strong views on the issue, Turkey should face its past. He said, however, it was not up to him to resolve the dispute.

Turkey rejects claims of a genocide of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. The dispute has been one of the key obstacles for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, which have had no formal ties since 1993. Turkish and Armenian officials are now holding closed-door talks on restoring relations and Obama believes this process could be harmed if the United States intervenes. He is thus expected not to use the word "genocide" in a traditional statement on April 24, the date Armenians mark as the beginning of the genocide campaign.

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