EU Parliament continues to call 1915 events ‘genocide’

European Union Parliament calls 1915 events 'genocide' against Armenians, drawing criticism from Ankara

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The European Parliament on Thursday published a progress report of 2015 on Turkey, once again calling the 1915 events as a “genocide” against Armenians, drawing criticism from Turkey.

According to meeting documents, 375 lawmakers voted in favour of the report and 133 rejected it, as 85 abstained during the voting.

Despite Turkey’s warnings that the 1915 events should be identified by historians, the EU Parliament keeps its stance on the events as a “genocide” against the Armenian people during the First World War.

The Parliament initially called the 1915 events as a “genocide” in 1987 and repeated it for a second time in April, last year, which makes Thursday’s decision a recall.

Turkey’s European Union Minister, Volkan Bozkir, said, in response, that the country would reject the resolution in the Turkey-EU 2015 Progress Report.

"Unfortunately this year... the same reference takes place in the European Parliament's Turkey report. These expressions, despite all our efforts and our warnings, could not be dropped," Bozkir said.

"That's why we will consider this report as null and void and our permanent representative will send it back to the European Parliament."

Turkey's EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkir

Ankara has announced that only an international commission constituted by historians of the late Ottoman era would be able to decide what actually happened during the mass deportation of Ottoman Armenians who allied with Russia in the eastern front in 1915.

Turkey has repeatedly rejected the EU's definition of the events and has pointed out that Armenians died during a relocation process in 1915 during World War One - a time when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire had sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the empire.

On April 23, 2014, then Prime Minister - now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, offered his condolences to the descendants of the Armenians who died during the events. He offered Armenia an establishment of a common commission of inquiry for the 1915 events, calling other countries to contribute the process, if they have information on the case.

Armenia has not accepted Erdogan’s call, but rallied for international support for its cause.

'Fight against PKK is Turkey’s legitimate right to fight against terrorism'

The Turkey-EU 2015 Progress Report also touched on the PKK terror issue, which continues to claim lives in Turkey, mainly in the southeastern parts of the country.

The EU Parliament “condemns and does not find justified the return to violence by the PKK, which is on the EU’s list of terrorist organisations; stresses that there is no violent solution to the Kurdish question,” said the report.

The EU lawmakers called PKK terrorist to lay down arms and stop terror attacks, in the report.

“[Parliament] strongly condemns attacks against security forces and civilians; expresses serious concern, in this connection, at the building of barricades and the digging of trenches by YDG-H militants; insists, however, that peaceful protests must be allowed.”

YDG-H members have dug ditches and set up barricades in the southeastern cities of Turkey to prevent the entrance of security forces by closing neighbourhoods.

PKK was established by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters in 1974, in Ankara, and the group began launching terror attacks in 1984. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years and claimed more than 40,000 lives.