Ankara summoned the Dutch chargé d’affaires in Turkey on Friday to explain the Dutch parliament’s vote to recognise the Armenian “genocide” of 1918.
The Lower House of the Dutch Parliament overwhelmingly approved, by 142 votes to three, a motion proposing « that the Parliament speak in clear terms of the Armenian genocide ». It also approved the dispatch of a government representative to Yerevan, the Armenian capital, on April 24 to commemorate the massacres perpetrated between 1915 and 1917 under the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey categorically rejects the use of the term « genocide », referring to reciprocal massacres in the midst of civil war and famine that left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides.
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu criticised what he called a « populist » decision, which is « not binding in any way » and « reflects growing racism, anti-European sentiment and Islamophobia in Europe ». He added that the decision « is very bad » and based on « insufficient information ».
His colleague in charge of European affairs, Ömer Celik, earlier on Friday called the Dutch motion « null and void ».
« The unfounded decisions taken by the Parliament of a country that turned a blind eye to the genocide of Srebrenica (…) have no place in history, » the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Thursday in reference to the failure of Dutch UN peacekeepers to prevent the massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war in 1995.
Yerevan welcomed the decision of the Dutch Parliament.
« 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,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a statement.