Turkey warns Belgium over consequences of resolution on Armenian ‘genocide’

Turkey warns Belgium over consequences of resolution on Armenian ‘genocide’

Turkey warns Belgium over consequences of resolution on Armenian ‘genocide’

CİHAN photo

Turkey has warned that adoption of a resolution condemning the centennial anniversary of Anatolian Armenians deaths during the World War I as genocide by the Belgian Chamber of Deputies will have a deep impact on bilateral relations between the two countries.

With the resolution adopted on July 23, Turkey has once more been “unfairly indicted, historical facts have been distorted and law has been ignored,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released on July 24.

The statement continued onto to say the decision was part of a campaign aimed at defaming Turkish identity and history, which had started early in 2015, while recalling Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s recognition of the deaths of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces during World War I as genocide in remarks delivered in June.

“[…] The grave picture that has emerged with the July 23 decision of the Chamber of Deputies [was] met with regret by the Belgian Turkish community and has deeply impacted our bilateral relations,” the ministry, questioning why Belgian deputies spared time on the issue instead of dealing with serious challenges Europe faces, including an economic crisis. 

“It should be understood that this and similar decisions that have been made do not serve the Turkish-Armenian conciliation in any way,” the ministry concluded in its statement.

Back in June, upon Michel’s remarks, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the remarks were “neither acceptable nor excusable,” adding that the Belgian leader had “politicized” the issue.

Michel’s remarks came after the European Parliament in April adopted a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide, which enraged Turkey.

Turkey says it shares the pain of Armenians over the events but has vehemently rejected the use of the term genocide, contending that hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians were killed on both sides in a wartime tragedy.

In April, Pope Francis drew Turkey’s wrath after describing the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

Ankara subsequently pulled its ambassador from the Vatican, as well as from Austria, Brazil and Luxembourg.