The Turkish Foreign Ministry denounced on Saturday a recent report adopted by theEuropean Parliament that called on European Union member states to recognizeArmenian claims of genocide at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire.
In a statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç called the European Parliament’s annual human rights and democracy report’s reference to the Armenian claims as “devoid of historical reality and legal basis.”
“We find these expressions extremely problematic and regret them,” Bilgiç said in the statement.
The European Parliament adopted the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2013 on March 12. Article 77 of the report “calls, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, on all the Member States legally to acknowledge it, and encourages the Member States and the EU institutions to contribute further to its recognition.”
Armenians say 1.5 million people were killed during the First World War years in eastern Anatolia as part of a systematic genocide campaign against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey disputes that claim, saying both that the death toll is inflated and that the Armenians were killed while the Ottoman Empire was trying to quell unrest caused by Armenian attacks on the Turkish population while they were trying to establish an Armenian state in eastern Anatolia.