Turkey

European Parliament destroys its credibility: Turkish dep. PM

Akdogan says labelling events of 1915 as genocide is 'empty historical rhetoric'.

15.04.2015
European Parliament destroys its credibility: Turkish dep. PM

ANKARA

 The European Parliament has “destroyed its credibility” by recognizing the deaths of Armenians in 1915 as genocide, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said on Wednesday.

Akdogan was reacting to the recall of a 1987 resolution by the parliament in Brussels that referred to the events of 1915 as genocide.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians lost their lives during mass relocations after a portion of the Armenian population sided against the Ottoman Empire during World War I but refutes claims that it was genocide.

"With its latest decision that has no validity or effect, the European Parliament has destroyed its credibility," Akdogan wrote on his official Twitter account on Wednesday evening.

He added: "You cannot handle serious matters by talking idly."

Akdogan called on the parliament to "quit using empty historical rhetoric and take a stance on more current issues if it really has a power and vision."

Before leaving for Kazakhstan earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would remain indifferent to the parliament’s involvement. "Whichever decision the European Parliament takes regarding the 1915 events, it goes in one ear and out the other," he said.

Armenia has demanded an apology and compensation over the events of 1915.

Last year, Erdogan expressed his condolences to relatives of all Ottoman citizens who lost their lives in 1915.

Turkey's EU minister on 'common pain' of 1915 

Turkey's EU minister on Wednesday spoke of the “common pain” facing both Turks and Armenians over atrocities committed during World War I.

Volkan Bozkir issued a statement following the European Parliament’s decision to label the deaths of Armenians in 1915 as genocide – a claim Turkey refutes and which Bozkir called a “slander.”

Denouncing the parliament’s decision to recall a 1987 resolution on the subject, he said the vote "contradicts historical and legal facts."

He added: "[The] role of parliaments, and in particular that of the European Parliament, which represents millions of Europeans, is not to write history but to provide realistic and lasting solutions to the challenges that we face today in Europe.”

Bozkir also accused the parliament of adopting a “selective standpoint” and disregarding atrocities suffered by Turks during World War I.

While "understanding and sympathizing with the Armenians' remembrance of their pain… is a duty of humanity… it is not acceptable either to exploit the matter for invoking hostility towards Turkey or to make it a matter of political conflict.

“The incidents which occurred during World War I are a common pain for all of us."

He reiterated that Turkey had called for a joint historical commission to study the events of 1915 and said genocide was a legal concept. “Qualifying the events of 1915 as genocide, about which there is no international court decision, is bound to remain as a slander,” he said.

Turkey has acknowledged that the events of 1915 were a great tragedy and that both parties suffered heavy casualties.

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