Turkey slams European Parliament’s call to recognize ‘Armenian genocide’

Turkey slams European Parliament’s call to recognize ‘Armenian genocide’

Turkey slams European Parliament’s call to recognize ‘Armenian genocide’ Turkish Foreign Ministry on March 14 slammed the human rights report adopted by the European Parliament, saying that the report lacked historical reality and legal basis.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said in a written statement that the report interpreted the event with a one-sided approach and disregarded Turkey's realistic and constructive initiatives relating to the matter.

The European Parliament adopted on March 12 the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2013.

Article 77 of the report called "ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, on all the member states to legally acknowledge it, and encourages the member states and the EU institutions to contribute further to its recognition."

"We find the statements remarkably problematic in every aspect and regret them," Bilgiç said, adding that the report also raised "illogical and unlawful" demands.

"These steps, which were taken by those who do not know this historical event, damage Turkey-EU relations and make it difficult for Turks and Armenians to build their future together," said Bilgiç.

He added that, "We expect our European partners not to deepen the problem further, but rather to find constructive contributions to the solution and encourage the Armenian side towards dialogue and reconciliation."

Armenia says up to 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians were killed in a genocide starting in 1915. Turkey denies that the deaths amounted to genocide, saying the death toll of Armenians killed during mass deportations has been inflated and that those killed in 1915 and 1916 were victims of general unrest during World War I.

The latest report is approved by a majority of votes at the European Parliament, which had recognized the events as genocide in 1987. Around 20 countries have taken a similar position on the issue so far.

The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and far-rightists, including the French politician Marine Le Pen, have recently been calling on member states to recognize the 1915 events as genocide.

In January, the Turkish president sent invitation letters to more than 100 leaders, including Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, to participate in ceremonies on April 24 marking the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli in Çanakkale. The ceremonies in Çanakkale were rearranged this year to coincide with Armenia’s traditional day of remembrance for the Armenian victims of 1915.

Sargsyan reportedly denounced Erdoğan’s invitation as a “short-sighted” attempt to overshadow the 100th anniversary the 1915 events.