BRUSSELS/ISTANBUL (Reuters) — The European Parliament backed a motion on Wednesday, April 15, that calls the massacre a century ago of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a “genocide,” days after Pope Francis triggered fury in Turkey by using the same term.
Although the resolution repeated language previously adopted by the parliament in 1987, it could stoke tensions with EU candidate nation Turkey. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said even before the vote took place that he would ignore the result.
Voting by show of hands, European lawmakers overwhelmingly backed the motion stating that the “tragic events that took place in 1915-1917 against the Armenians in the territory of the Ottoman Empire represent a genocide.”
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian hailed the resolution as a move aimed at defending human rights.
“The Resolution contains an important message to Turkey to use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide to come to terms with its past, to recognize the Armenian Genocide and thus pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between Turkish and Armenian peoples,” he said in a statement.
Pope Francis sparked a diplomatic row last Sunday by calling the killings “the first genocide of the 20th century.” His remarks prompted Turkey to summon the Vatican’s ambassador to the Holy See and to recall its own.