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MEPs Pass Resolution Referring To Armenian Killings As Genocide

  • RFE/RL

The Tsitsernakabert memorial in Yerevan, which commemorates the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

The Tsitsernakabert memorial in Yerevan, which commemorates the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

The European Parliament on April 15 overwhelmingly passed a resolution that uses the word "genocide" to describe the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, triggering angry reactions in Turkey.

The resolution, supported by all main political groups, says the European Parliament "joins the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in a spirit of European solidarity and justice."

It also says Ankara should open its archives and "come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian Genocide," and pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples.

Armenia's Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian hailed the resolution.

"The resolution contains an important message to Turkey to use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide to come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian Genocide and thus pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples," Nalbandian said in a statement.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry, however, said the resolution was an attempt to rewrite history.

The statement said lawmakers who backed the resolution were in partnership with "those who have nothing to do with European values and are feeding on hatred, revenge, and the culture of conflict."

Before the vote took place, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference that he would ignore the result.

“Whatever decision the European Parliament takes, it will go into one ear and out the other,” he said at Ankara airport before departing on a visit to Kazakhstan. "It is not possible for Turkey to accept such a crime, such a sin."

Turkey is a candidate country to join the 28-nation EU, but accession talks have dragged on for years with little progress.

Pope Francis sparked a diplomatic row on April 12 by calling the mass killing of Armenians "the first genocide of the 20th century."

His remarks prompted Turkey to summon the Vatican's ambassador to Ankara and to recall its own.

The slaughter and deportation of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks is considered by many historians and several nations as genocide.

Turkey objects, saying that Armenians died in much smaller numbers and because of civil strife rather than a planned Ottoman government effort to annihilate the Christian minority.

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels, Reuters, AP, and AFP
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