Turkey, World, Europe

Turkey: Italy abusing history and law on events of 1915

Italy painting 1915 events as 'genocide' was purely political, says Turkish parliament speaker

Erdogan Cagatay Zontur   | 12.04.2019
Turkey: Italy abusing history and law on events of 1915

ANTALYA, Turkey

Italy’s parliament abused history and the law to paint the events of 1915 as a “genocide,” Turkey’s parliament speaker said on Friday.

"The Italian House of Representatives has displaced international courts and tried to pass judgement on a specific crime clearly defined in international law such as genocide, and abused history and the law," Mustafa Sentop said in the opening speech of a NATO meeting in Antalya, on the Turkish Mediterranean.

Sentop also said France's decision to declare April 24 a day commemorating the events of 1915 was politically motivated, and added: "This initiative, which is far from state seriousness, serves no purpose other than the politicization of history with an unsubstantiated legal basis."

“The French president's declaration also restricts the freedom of expression of its citizens by ignoring the European Court of Human Rights and the case law of the French Constitutional Court,” Sentop added.

“France should inform public about Algeria’s colonial era, the Rwanda massacre in which 800,000 people were killed in 100 days, and it should not manipulate the history of other countries for political reasons.”

During their struggle for independence from French colonial rule, some 1.5 million Algerians were martyred, while hundreds of thousands more were injured, went missing, or were forced from their homes.

Algeria has repeatedly asked France to acknowledge its colonial-era crimes.

France had supported Rwanda’s Hutu-led government, including arms and military training, which carried out a genocide against the country’s ethnic Tutsis. It also established a safe zone which allowed many possible war criminals to escape.

Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.

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