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Turkey condemns Italian Parliament’s motion on 1915 events

Turkey summoned the Italian ambassador to Ankara to express regret about the motion.
11.04.2019 - 10:36

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday strongly condemned the passing of a motion by Italy’s parliament to recognize the 1915 events in Armenia as 'genocide'.


“The motion of the Italian House of Representatives dated April 10, 2019 is a new example of the use of Armenian claims as a tool for domestic political interest,” the ministry said in a statement.  “We strongly condemn this move,” Foreign Ministry Mevlüt Çvuşoğlu added. The ministry noted that the proposal was prepared by Italy’s far-right Lega party.

"Essentially known, the Armenian allegations being brought up before the elections or in the context of opposition to Turkey clearly reveals the political nature of these allegations and that they are inconsistent with the historical facts," he added. “These efforts are not only beneficial to no side but also stonewall the way for good-faith initiatives,” the statement added. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter that the Italian parliament's motion is null and void.

Turkey’s presidential spokesman also slammed the passing of the motion. "The so-called genocide decision of the Italian parliament ignores historical facts and sows new seeds of hostility," İbrahim Kalın said on Twitter. He added that parliament’s decision "fuels political populism."

"We strongly condemn the Italian Parliament’s most recent attempt at distorting and politicizing our nation’s history," Turkey’s presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun tweeted earlier. He said the Italian parliament’s move is “unproductive, hostile and deplorable.” "Instead of attacking each other’s memories, we must all work together to ensure that truth prevails over fiction," Altun added.

Ömer Çelik, the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, also condemned the motion, saying Italy is being tricked by the Armenian diaspora, which in no way wants normal relations between Turkey and Armenia.

The proposal was voted on Wednesday and the motion was approved by 382 votes with none against and 43 abstentions. Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I. Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides. Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.