By Anna Saghabalian
Lithuania’s parliament has adopted a resolution recognizing the 1915-1918 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide, lawmakers and Armenian community leaders in the Baltic state confirmed on Friday.
The legislature, Sejmas, also urged Turkey on Thursday to “recognize historical facts” and drop its insistence that the massacres did not constitute a genocide.
The resolution was put forward by lawmakers representing center-right opposition parties and appears to have drawn no objections from the parliament majority. Reports from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius said its adoption was virtually unanimous, with 48 votes in favor, none against and three abstentions.
“The resolution was also co-sponsored by members of the foreign relations committee of Sejmas,” Algis Kaseta, the parliamentary leader of Lithuania’s Liberal Party and main author of the resolution, told RFE/RL by phone. “Most of them have close ties with the Foreign Ministry. I think they made a politically correct assessment of the situation and took this decision.”
“This means the parliament and the government of Lithuania have a common view on this issue,” Kaseta said.
The 1,000-strong Armenian community in Lithuania, according to its leader Aram Tunian, lobbied for the passage of the resolution. Tunian said the parliament’s foreign relations committee initially opposed it.
The Armenian genocide has also been recognized by the parliaments of several other European Union member states, including France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Greece. All of them were denounced by Turkey. There was no official reaction from Ankara to the Lithuanian move as of Friday evening.