Turkey condemned on Monday an Argentine judge’s ruling that it committed genocide against Armenians around the time of World War I.
Judge Norberto Oyarbide ruled Friday that “the Turkish state committed the crime of genocide against the Armenian people” between 1915 and 1923.
The verdict was the result of a lawsuit filed in 2000 by Gregorio Hayrapetian, an Argentine citizen of Armenian descent. Hayrapetian sought judgment on the fate of his relatives killed during the massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
According to the Associated Press news agency, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the ruling is an example of how legal systems are abused by “extreme nationalists” belonging to the Armenian Diaspora. The ministry said the decision was based on unserious accusations and it destabilizes Turkey’s efforts to mend ties with Armenia.
By contrast, Armenia’s ambassador to Argentina, welcomed the ruling on Saturday, saying that the Argentine judge upheld “the right to the truth.”
Argentina, which has an influential ethnic Armenian community, is one of about two dozen nations that have officially termed killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks a genocide. Many international experts also recognize the Armenian genocide.
Turkey, however, maintains far fewer died than claimed and any deaths were instead due to civil war and unrest.