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Czech President Says Ottoman Mass Killings 'Genocide'

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (left) and Czech President Milos Zeman at their joint press conference in Prague on January 30.
PRAGUE -- Czech President Milos Zeman says the mass killings of ethnic Armenians in Ottoman Turkey amounted to "genocide."

"Next year it will be 100 years since the genocide of the Armenian people in the year of 1915, when 1.5 million of Armenians died," Zeman said during Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's official visit to Prague on January 30.

The Czech Republic, a member of the European Union and NATO, is not among the 23 countries that formally recognize the mass killings as genocide.

Zeman took office last year.

EU powers and NATO members France and Germany are among those who have recognized it as "genocide."

NATO member Turkey, the modern-day successor of the Ottoman Empire, strongly rejects genocide accusations.

Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations.