Armenian diaspora piles pressure on Obama over 1915 incidents .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} The Armenian diaspora is set to pile pressure on U.S. president-elect Barack Obama to recognize the "genocide" claims over the 1915 incidents, as Turkish officials plan counter-measures.

Hurriyet reported on Thursday the diaspora organizations in the U.S. had prepared a comprehensive plan to have Obama define the 1915 incidents as "genocide" in a speech due to be delivered on April 24 and to have U.S. Congress approve legislation formally recognizing the Armenian claims.

Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in Turkey in 1915.

Around 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia in 1915. Armenia claims the incidents that occurred during the civil strife were systematic "genocide".

Turkey has offered to form a joint commission to investigate the claims and reveal the truth behind the turmoil of 1915 and to open all official archives, but Armenia has continually dragged its feet on accepting the offer.

The diaspora organizations are planning a renewed attempt in U.S. Congress for a legislation that recognizes the 1915 incidents as "genocide" in February, Hurriyet reported.

The report said Armenian organizations are also trying to block the appointment to the new Obama administration of politicians who disagree with the Armenian claims.

The newly elected president had pledged to recognize the claims during his campaign to woo voters of Armenian-origin.

However the possibility of Armenian organizations succeeding is seen as low given the fact that Obama is not the first president to have pledged to recognize the claims but refrained from doing so after taking office.

A Turkish official told Hurriyet that Ankara would take all the necessary steps to prevent these efforts from achieving their aim. "They cannot do this easily... We even can stop the U.S. from utilizing Turkish capabilities in its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan," the official was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

Officials also say Turkey would be in a key position as Obama is set to change his country's foreign policy especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore Obama would not want to have problems with Turkey, they add.

The possible appointment of Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State is also considered by officials as positive for Turkey.