Turkey recalls ambassador to Austria over parliament's Armenia declaration
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULApr 22, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Apr 22, 2015 12:00 am
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Vienna Hasan Göğüş back to Ankara for consultations on Tuesday, after the Austrian Parliament issued a declaration that labels the Armenian killings during World War I as 'genocide'.
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 Erdoğan 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 Erdoğan 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However Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, in a purported refusal to reconcile with Turkey, said he had withdrawn the peace accords with Turkey from parliament.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 Davutoğlu 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, Erdoğan 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 Bilgiç also said, "Turkey will remain committed to the normalization process it pursues as the main purpose of the protocols."