Dutch Parliament recognizes 1915 events as 'genocide' amid strained ties with Turkey

Published 16.02.2018 12:06
Updated 16.02.2018 14:07
emSource: ANP/em
Source: ANP

The lower house of the Dutch Parliament recognized the 1915 events as "genocide" on Thursday in a move that is likely to further strain relations with Turkey.

According to a report by the NL Times, the Dutch Parliament adopted two motions regarding the matter. The first motion "recognizes the Armenian genocide" while the other requires a Dutch minister or state secretary to attend the commemoration of events held in April.

The Dutch government did not describe the 1915 events as "genocide" before as the government preferred to use the word "issue" to describe the incidents, a policy which was approved by the Dutch parliament in 2004.

Turkey denies the alleged Armenian "genocide", but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events taking place in World War I.

According to Turkey's viewpoint, the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.

In another development last week, the Dutch Foreign Ministry formally withdrew its ambassador to Turkey, who has been physically barred from the country for almost a year, over a dispute that began in March 2017. The ministry also said that it will not accept the appointment of a new Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands.

Relations between Turkey and the Netherlands soured prior to the Dutch general elections on March 14. Looking to attract votes from nationalists, the previous Dutch government exerted a number of undemocratic actions against Turkish politicians.

It declined a landing permit to a plane carrying Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who was scheduled to speak at a meeting in Rotterdam. The authorities also barred Family MinisterFatma Betül Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam. She was forced to remain inside her vehicle for hours before being deported to Germany.

The incidents drew severe criticism from Ankara and the foreign ministry asked the off-duty Dutch ambassador in Ankara, who was on leave, not to return "for a while."

After months of negotiations, the Dutch coalition government was formed on Oct. 26. The absence of Bert Koenders, who was seen as the one responsible for the heightened tension, in the new Dutch cabinet has opened up the opportunity to normalize bilateral relations between the two countries.

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