Erdogan Complains to Council of Europe about Genocide ?Lobbying?

(dpa–Reuters)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday criticized parliamentary resolutions by European states honoring up to 1.5 million Armenia’s who died or were killed in massacres and deportations by Ottoman Turks during 1915-23.

Speaking at the Council of Europe Summit in Warsaw–Erdogan termed the killings the "so-called Armenian genocide" and said current discussions amounted to "lobbying" which Turkey would not support.

"We say that we do not appreciate any lobbying efforts that do not find their basis in documen’s," he said–speaking through an interpreter. "By taking action in other parliamen’s–this will not have positive effects on the issue."

The Turkish leader also declared his country was prepared to open its archives and called on Armenia and other states to do the same to review the events of 90 years ago.

"We opened our archives–one million classified documen’s. We ask Armenia to open its archives and we ask other countries to contribute too…If there are decisions to be taken after that–they will be taken. But not on the basis of lobbying and parliamentary decisions based on such lobbying," he said.

President Robert Kocharian–who also attended the summit–called for the 1915-23 killings to be recognized as genocide. Turkish media said Erdogan had cancelled a planned meeting in Warsaw with Kocharian–which had been designed to underline Turkey’s desire for better ties with Armenia–as a protest against the reference to the genocide issue.

While most historians say between 1.2 and 1.5 million ethnic Armenia’s were killed by Muslim Turks in a bloody wave of deportations and massacres–Turkey says there were no more than 300,000 dead and that the deaths were not deliberately planned or desired.

Turkey insists the events are being used as a black mark against its bid for European Union (EU) membership. Ankara is due to start membership negotiations with the bloc in October but EU officials caution that talks could last some 15 years.

A number of European parliamen’s have adopted resolutions honoring Armenian victims and which mainly define the killings as genocide including Greece–France–Sweden–Italy–Slovakia–the Netherlands–Poland and Cyprus.

Germany’s parliament plans to adopt a resolution by this summer but a draft text expressly leaves out the word "genocide." German’sponsors say they do not want to make life more difficult for those in Turkey seeking an open discussion of the Armenian question.


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