Dutch parliament decision declaring 1915 events as 'genocide' null and void for Turkey, EU Minister Çelik says

EU Minister Çelik speaks at the AK Party district congress in Yüreğir, Turkey's southern Adana province on Feb. 17, 2018. (AA Photo)
EU Minister Çelik speaks at the AK Party district congress in Yüreğir, Turkey's southern Adana province on Feb. 17, 2018. (AA Photo)

The Dutch parliament decision declaring the 1915 events as "genocide" are null and void for Turkey, the Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik said Friday.

"We condemn this parliamentary decision. It has no validity as far as Turkey is concerned," Çelik tol reporters in Ankara.

"What we expected from the Netherlands -- which has a high degree of responsibility in an act of genocide like Srebrenica -- is be more careful about these issues," he said.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry also summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires over the parliament's "genocide" decision.

Dutch lawmakers Thursday overwhelmingly voted in favor of recognizing the deaths of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as "genocide", in a move likely to worsen already-strained ties with Turkey.

"The motion is accepted," parliamentary speaker Khadija Arib announced after the lower house voted 142 to 3 in favor of the proposal "that parliament in no uncertain terms speak about the Armenian genocide."

The decision has no legal binding character or validity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday evening.

"The baseless decisions taken by the parliament of a country that turned a blind eye to a genocide — whose pain still has not eased — in Srebrenica, in the middle of Europe, have no legal binding or validity."

The Parliamentary Speaker's Office has said that the Dutch Parliament's recognition of 1915 events as "genocide" violates international law, and that it considers it null and void.

Turkey accused the Netherlands instead of turning a blind eye to the genocide of Muslim Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb troops that took place in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War in 1995.

Dutch U.N. peacekeepers had surrendered the enclave to the Bosnian Serbs without firing a shot just before 8,000 Bosniaks, mostly men and boys, were slaughtered in the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II.

After the controversial motion was given, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy also issued a statement, saying it was unacceptable for Turkey for the Netherlands to recognize Armenian claims politicizing the 1915 events, which is a sensitive issue for the Turkish state and nation.Aksoy noted that legal precedents in European law have ruled that 1915 events are a legitimate issue of discussion.

"In this context, we invite Dutch politicians to review their biased attitude against Turkey and not to politicize history," the statement said, adding that the Netherlands could back Turkey's proposal of an independent joint history commission open for academics expert on Ottoman history if it wants to contribute to the solution of this historic issue.

Despite the vote in the lower house of the parliament, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag said that the Dutch government wouldn't follow the parliament's lead. Kaag says the Cabinet will "continue to exercise restraint" in the politically charged issue.

Kaag told lawmakers in the Second Chamber of parliament that the Dutch government only recognizes events as genocide if that description is supported by a binding U.N. Security Council resolution or a verdict from an international court.She said that because those conditions haven't been met for Armenia, "the Cabinet will not follow the chamber in this judgment."

However, Kaag did say that the government would comply with a motion calling on the administration to send a representative to a service in April in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, commemorating the massacre.

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.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter