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Dutch Parliament Vote Hailed By Armenia, Condemned By Turkey


Armenia -- A woman is reflected in a display containing a banner depicting "Tools of Genocide" forming the shape of "1915", in reference to the year of the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks, in Yerevan, April 22, 2015

Armenia has praised while Turkey condemned the Dutch parliament for reaffirming its official recognition of the 1915 genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

The Dutch House of Representatives described the massacre of some 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks as genocide in a resolution overwhelmingly adopted late on Thursday. Another resolution passed by it calls for a high level Dutch government official to attend an official commemoration of the genocide anniversary in Armenia on April 24.

The Armenian government swiftly hailed the development. “With this step, the parliament of the Netherlands once again reconfirmed its commitment to universal human values and the noble cause of prevention of genocides and crimes against humanity,” Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a statement.

Nalbandian noted that the Dutch parliament had already recognized the Armenian genocide in 2004.

Predictably, official Ankara strongly condemned the Dutch resolutions, calling them “baseless.” “They are neither legally binding nor have any validity,” read a statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

The statement at the same time pointed to the Dutch government’s decision to distance itself from the resolutions. Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said before the vote that the government “will not follow the judgment of the parliament.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also summoned the Dutch charge d’affaires in Ankara on Friday to express its unhappiness with the resolutions.

Relations between the two NATO member states began rapidly deteriorating last year when the Netherlands deported a Turkish minister who tried to campaign among the Dutch Turkish minority for a constitutional referendum in Turkey. On February 5, the Netherlands said it will not attempt to appoint an ambassador to Turkey for now.

At least 23 countries, including France and Germany, as well as most scholars outside Turkey recognize the Armenian genocide. “The historical record on the Armenian Genocide is unambiguous and documented by overwhelming evidence,” the International Association of Genocide Scholars said in 2007.

Successive Turkish governments have vehemently denied a premediated government effort to exterminate Ottoman Turkey’s Armenian population during the First World War.

Ankara reacted angrily after French President Emmanuel Macron pledged late last month to assign an official day of commemoration for the Armenian genocide victims. Macron also signaled support for a French law that would criminalize public denials of the genocide.

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