TURKEY RECALLS AMBASSADOR AS AUSTRIA RECOGNIZES 1915 ARMENIAN KILLINGS AS 'GENOCIDE'

Today's Zaman
April 22 2015

Turkey said Wednesday it is recalling its ambassador to Austria after
parties represented in parliament signed a declaration recognizing
the massacre of Armenians a century ago as genocide.

The six parties signed a declaration on Tuesday and held a minute of
silence in memory of the victims.

"Due to the historic responsibility - the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
was allied with the Osman Empire during World War I - it is our
responsibility to recognize the terrible events as genocide and to
condemn them," the declaration stated.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry recalled Turkey's Ambassador to Vienna
Mehmet Hasan Goðuþ to Ankara for consultations after the Austrian
Parliament's decision.

"This declaration....has caused outrage for us," the Turkish Foreign
Ministry said in a statement. "We reject this biased attitude of the
Austrian parliament, trying to lecture others on history, which has
no room in today's world.

"It is clear that this declaration...will have permanent negative
effects on Turkey-Austria relations."

The ministry said it had recalled its ambassador from Vienna for
consultations over the declaration, one of a number by foreign
institutions and parliaments as the 100th anniversary of the killings
approached.

The killings of Armenians by modern Turkey's predecessor, the
Ottoman Empire, have been one of the most debated issues on the
Turkish-Armenian political agenda. Armenians refer to the killings as
genocide, saying 1.5 million Armenians were systematically murdered
by Ottoman forces in the early years of the 20th century while Turkey
vehemently rejects the allegations, saying the death toll is inflated
and that Muslim Turks were also killed during the civil strife that
coincided with the final years of the deteriorating empire.

Around 268,000 people of Turkish origin live in Austria, according
to government figures, of which nearly 115,000 are Turkish citizens.

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoðan said he
did not expect US President Barack Obama to use the word "genocide"
in reference to the killings.

"I would not want Obama to use the word 'genocide', and I would not
expect such a thing," Erdoðan told a joint press conference with
Iraqi President Fuad Masum.

Erdoðan has expressed condolences for the loss of Armenian life during
World War One, but refuses to call the mass killings a genocide.

Germany's parliament is set to adopt a motion using the word genocide
on Friday. Earlier this month, Pope Francis also called the massacres
a genocide, prompting Turkey to summon the Vatican's envoy and recall
its own.

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