Turkey Chides Canada over Armenia Genocide Vote

ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkey on Thursday condemned the Canadian parliament’s decision to recognize the 1915 killing of Armenia’s by Ottoman forces as genocide and warned of damage to bilateral ties.

"We strongly condemn the approval by Canada’s Federal Parliament of this decision which follows (the pressure of) marginal groups despite our objections," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"This decision will benefit neither Canadian Armenia’s nor Armenia. Responsibility for all the negative consequences of this decision belongs to the Canadian politicians," it added.

The ministry did not say what these consequences might be–but Fazli Corman–the Turkish embassy councilor in Ottawa–earlier cited the example of Canadian companies seeking to sign contracts in Turkey.

Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham said the motion would not alter Ottawa’s official policy–that while the events of 1915 were a tragedy–they did not constitute genocide.

Canada’s embassy in Ankara issued a statement calling for reconciliation between Turks and Armenia’s. It also urged their governmen’s to deal with the issue of the alleged genocide and to work for greater stability in their "volatile region."

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry accused "narrow-minded Canadian politicians" of fomenting ethnic and religious hatred between "people of different ethnic backgrounds who live in peace."

Earlier this week–Turkey also criticized a reference to the alleged genocide on an Armenian monument unveiled in Poland. The word "slandered" the Turkish nation–the Foreign Ministry said–and hurt Turkey’s historically warm ties with Poland.

Parliamen’s in Russia–France and Switzerland–have also adopted motions describing the events of 1915 as genocide.

Turkey froze official visits to France and temporarily blocked French firms from entering lucrative defense contracts in 2001 after the French parliament backed the Armenian case. France is home to Europe’s biggest Armenian Diaspora.

The US Congress dropped a similar resolution in 2000 after the White House warned it would harm US security interests in the Middle East.


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