Turkey condemns Italy lawmakers' motion on 1915 events

Thu 11 Apr 2019 06:14 GMT | 10:14 Local Time

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Italy's lower house of parliament passed a motion Wednesday calling on the government "to officially recognize" the events of 1915 as genocide, Daily Sabah reported.

The motion gained cross-party support and was passed with 382 votes in favor, none against, and 43 abstentions from Forza Italia, the conservative opposition party of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.

The government — which did not take a position for or against the motion — is supposed to follow up on the parliament's urging, but has no legal obligation to do so.

"We strongly condemn the Italian parliament's most recent attempt at distorting and politicizing our nation's history," Turkish Presidency'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.

On Monday, Turkey summoned the Italian ambassador to Ankara to express "regret" about the motion and seek clarifications on Italy's position.

On Wednesday, Turkey's ruling party on Wednesday condemned the Italian parliament's motion.

Speaking to reporters, Ömer Çelik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said Italy is being tricked by Armenian diaspora, which in no way wants normal relations between Turkey and Armenia.

Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey does not accept the alleged genocide, but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.

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