Daily Sabah
April 22 2015


Turkey recalled its ambassador to Vienna Hasan GöguÅ~_ back to Ankara
for consultations on Tuesday, after the Austrian Parliament issued a
declaration that labels the Armenian killings during World War I as

Turkish Foreign Ministry also released a statement regarding the
issue and blamed the Austrian Parliament for disrupting the historical
and judicial facts and said that Turkey will not forget the baseless
claims of the Austrian Parliament.

"While the joint declaration issued by the Austrian Parliament
emphasizes the sufferings of the Christians and does not even mention
the Muslim people who had lost their lives in World War I, it has
become just another example of discrimination based on religions." the
statement read.

The statement reiterated Turkey's rejection against the 'genocide'
claims and added that Austrian Parliament's selective and one-sided
approach over the 1915 events has potential to harm the relations
between the two countries.

Turkey and Armenia disagree on what happened during the events
between 1915 and 1923, with Armenia saying that 1.5 million people
were deliberately killed, and Turkey saying the deaths were a result
of deportations and civil strife.

Turkish-Armenian relations have remained strained for decades due to
Armenia's constant demand for Turkey to officially accept the Armenian
claims of "genocide." Tensions peaked in 1993 when Turkey closed its
borders with Armenia in reaction to the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and
in support of its close ally Azerbaijan.

Nevertheless, last year President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made attempts to
thaw tensions between the two countries by issuing a message ahead of
the 99th anniversary of the 1915 incidents. In an unprecedented move,
Prime Minister Erdogan extended condolences to the grandchildren of
the Armenians who lost their lives in the 1915 events.

However Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, in a purported refusal to
reconcile with Turkey, said he had withdrawn the peace accords with
Turkey from parliament.

The two countries' foreign ministers at the time, Ahmet Davutoglu and
Eduard Nalbandian, had signed protocols to establish diplomatic ties
between their respective countries in 2009 in Switzerland. Mediated
by the U.S., the protocol had presupposed the opening of the border
between Turkey and Armenia, but it failed to be ratified.

Following the incident, Erdogan complained that Armenia had failed to
reciprocate Turkish peace efforts, but said that Ankara will still
pursue a settlement with Armenia. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju
Bilgic also said, "Turkey will remain committed to the normalization
process it pursues as the main purpose of the protocols."


From: A. Papazian