CAIRO (Ahram.org)— Independent Egyptian lawmaker Mostafa Bakri said that he and 336 members of parliament have called on parliament to approve a draft resolution in favor of recognizing the death of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman state in 1915 as a genocide.
”Parliament must hold a special session on this subject because it was a crime of mass extermination that should be condemned by all world parliaments,” said Bakri.
“New historical evidence has exposed the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1922,” Bakri said, adding that his proposal “comes after the German parliament voted last month in favor of recognizing the 1915 massacre as a genocide, and many other countries are expected to follow suit.”
Turkey does not officially recognize that the Armenian genocide took place. Following Germany’s recent recognition of the genocide, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled Turkey’s ambassador to Germany for “consultation,” with the Turkish government saying that the move by Berlin was “null and void.”
Bakri concluded that “while the Ottomans committed the 1915 massacre, the Erdogan regime is now moving to commit another crime against his political opponents and minorities that seek independence.”
The proposal comes after another Egyptian MP, Emad Mahrous, demanded on Sunday that the government grant political asylum to exiled Turkish opposition figure Fethullah Gulen.
Mahrous accused Erdogan of exploiting the failed coup against him this month to detain hundreds of his political opponents and turn Turkey into a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship.
Talaat Khalil, an MP who supported Bakri’s draft resolution, told reporters that genocide should be condemned by all world governments and parliaments.
“Besides, the perpetrators must admit their crimes or even apologize for them,” Khalil added.
”But it is clear that the arrogant Erdogan regime will never admit that this massacre [took place] because he believes himself to be a new Ottoman sultan,” said Khalil.
Khalil added that Egypt had close relations with both the Armenian people and the Turkish people.
”Egypt has always been a shelter for the Armenians since the 1915 massacre,” said Khalil, arguing that “out of its political responsibility, Egypt’s parliament must move to recognize the [genocide] against Armenians.”
Khalil concluded by saying that “this should not be taken as a hostile move by the Egyptian parliament against Turkey, but should be seen as a move that comes out of purely humanist considerations.”
Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been strained since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood group and a close ally of Erdogan’s AKP government. Erdogan has repeatedly slammed Morsi’s removal as an “unacceptable coup.”
Cairo has repeatedly accused Ankara of “interference” in its domestic affairs and supporting Islamist militants who carry out terrorist attacks in Egypt.
Turkey provides a safe haven for leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in Egypt. Ankara also allows TV stations run by sympathizers of the Brotherhood who criticize the government of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to broadcast out of Turkey.