ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)—The Turkish Foreign Ministry protested on Saturday a recent report adopted by the European Parliament that called on European Union member states to recognize the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
In a statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç called the European Parliament’s annual human rights and democracy report’s reference to the Armenian Genocide as “devoid of historical reality and legal basis.”
“We find these expressions extremely problematic and regret them,” Bilgiç said in the statement.
The European Parliament adopted the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2013 on March 12. Article 77 of the report “calls, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, on all the Member States legally to acknowledge it, and encourages the Member States and the EU institutions to contribute further to its recognition.”
The Turkish government to this day refuses to acknowledge that the systematic, state-sponsored murder of 1.5 million Armenians and the exile of Armenians from their historic homelands constitutes a genocide. Instead, the Turkish state claims that it was Armenians who killed Turks and that Armenians were relocated from their homes for their own safety. Writers and public figures in Turkey are arrested regularly for speaking about the Armenian Genocide, which is illegal in Turkey under certain circumstances.
Turkey and Armenia also have no diplomatic relations. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support for its co-ethnic ally, Azerbaijan, when war broke out over Artsakh. Turkey has conditioned its normalization of ties with Armenia on the ceding of Artsakh to Azerbaijan.