VoA: Swedish Parliament Labels Armenian Killings in Turkey Genocide

Voice of America
March 12 2010

Swedish Parliament Labels Armenian Killings in Turkey Genocide

A U.S. congressional committee approved a similar resolution last week
and sent it to the full House of Representatives. The move prompted
Turkey to recall its ambassador to Washington.

Dorian Jones | Istanbul 12 March 2010

Photo: Members of leftist Workers’ Party march to the Sweden Consulate
in Istanbul, Turkey, 12 Mar 2010, a day after Sweden’s parliament
narrowly approved a resolution recognizing the 1915 mass killing of
Armenians in Turkey as genocide

The Swedish parliament’s passage of a resolution recognizing the
killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide is drawing strong
condemnation from Ankara. The vote comes after the U.S. Congress’s
Foreign Affairs Committee passed a similar motion earlier this month.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Sweden and canceled a summit in
Stockholm after Swedish lawmakers passed the measure Thursday.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the vote calling
it irresponsible.

Similar sentiments came from all of Turkey’s main political parties.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, dismissed the Swedish parliament’s
vote. "We know very well how these decisions are taken," he said.
"This decision has no value on our part. Those who voted are neither
historians or scientists. No need to exaggerate this voting or make
it look like more important than it actually is," he said.

Armenians say Ottoman Turks slaughtered as many as 1.5 million people
from 1915 until 1923. Turkey recognizes that Armenians were killed,
but says the death toll is greatly exaggerated. It says the Armenians
died in a civil war which accompanied the collapse of the Ottoman
Empire.

A U.S. congressional committee approved a similar resolution last week
and sent it to the full House of Representatives. The move prompted
Turkey to recall its ambassador to Washington.

Like the U.S., Sweden is an important ally for Turkey. It is one of
the few country’s in Europe that still strongly advocates Ankara’s bid
to join the European Union.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt reached out to Ankara saying his
government opposed the parliamentary motion and did not want it to
undermine Turkish-Armenian rapprochement efforts.

Turkey and Armenia have been making inroads in restoring diplomatic
relations and resolving their historical differences. Last October the
Turkish and Armenian president signed a protocol to normalize
relations. Ankara has repeatedly warned that those rapprochement
efforts are undermined by countries passing motions accusing it of
genocide.

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