ROME—Italy’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution of Wednesday calling on the government to “officially recognize the Armenian Genocide” and elevate the profile of the issue on an international level.
The bill was approved with 382 votes in favor, none against and 43 abstentions mainly from members of the opposition center-right Forza Italia party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Italy’s government, which had neither supported nor opposed the measure, will have to follow up on the parliament’s mandate, but is not legally obliged to do so.
Yerevan welcomed the decision by Italy’ s legislature, saying raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide by the Italian Parliament is an important step in the prevention of genocides and crimes against humanity.
‘The decision adopted by the Parliament of Italy is yet another important step in the efforts of the international community to respect and restore the rights of the Armenian people who suffered the Genocide,” Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said in its statement.
The mere consideration of an Armenian Genocide recognition bill by the Chamber of Deputies—Camera Camera dei deputati—angered Turkey, prompting the government to summon the Italy’s ambassador to Turkey on Monday, while the measure was being debated in parliament, to express Ankara’s “regret”. However, the overwhelming passage of the motion drew condemnation from the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
“We strongly condemn the Italian parliament’s most recent attempt at distorting and politicizing our nation’s history,” Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said Wednesday after the vote.
“Instead of attacking each other’s memories, we must all work together to ensure that truth prevails over fiction,” Altun added.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which suffered major losses last week in local elections, notably in Ankara and Istanbul, also condemned the Italian’s legislature’s decision.
Speaking to reporters, Ömer Çelik, the AKP spokesman, said Italy is being tricked by Armenian diaspora, which in no way wants normal relations between Turkey and Armenia.