Turkey summons Dutch charge d’affaires over Armenian ‘genocide’ vote

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Turkey summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires on Friday to condemn the vote by lawmakers in the Netherlands to recognize the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as “genocide”, an official said. The Dutch diplomat was called to the foreign ministry in Ankara, which “condemned” the parliament’s vote, a ministry official said.

The Dutch lower house on Thursday voted 142 to 3 in favor of the proposal “that parliament in no uncertain terms speak about the Armenian genocide”. Armenians have long sought recognition that some 1.5 million of their people were killed in a genocidal campaign in World War I by Ottoman forces ordered by Minister of War Enver Pasha and other top officials to wipe them from Anatolia.

But Turkey the Ottoman Empire’s successor state insists similar numbers of Muslims and Armenians were killed in a collective tragedy during wartime conflict and has always strongly resisted pressure to recognize that any genocide took place. Acting Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag quickly tempered the motion, saying even though the ruling four-party coalition voted for the motion, the government will “restrain” itself.

The Turkish foreign ministry on Thursday said in a statement it “strongly” condemned the move. Turkish European Union Affairs Minister Omer Celik told reporters on Friday: “We condemn the decision taken by the parliament. For us, it is null and void.” So far, parliaments in more than 20 countries, including Germany, have voted for laws or resolutions explicitly recognizing the Armenian “genocide”.

The parliament vote comes as Netherlands and Turkey’s diplomatic ties plunged further following the Dutch decision to withdraw its ambassador from Turkey earlier this month. Relations have been strained since early last year when Dutch officials stopped a Turkish minister from attending a Rotterdam rally in March last year. The Dutch ambassador has not had access to Turkey since March 2017.

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