The European Parliament has called on Turkey to acknowledge its historic responsibility for the massacre of Armenians during World War I, and pave the way for “a genuine reconciliation” with Yerevan.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), in a resolution put to the vote on Wednesday, urged Armenia and Turkey to “use the centenary of the Armenian genocide” to normalize diplomatic relations, open their border and pave the way for economic integration.
The lawmakers also encouraged the two countries to “use examples of successful reconciliation between European nations, and ratify and implement, without preconditions, the protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations, opening the border and actively improve their relations, with particular reference to cross-border cooperation and economic integration.”
The MEPs further asked Ankara to “use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian genocide as an important opportunity” to open up Turkish archives, “come to terms with its (Turkey’s) past,” recognize the genocide and so pave the way for a “genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples.”
Armenians say up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were systematically slaughtered in eastern Turkey through mass killings, forced relocations and starvation, a process that began in 1915 and took place over several years during World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.
Ankara rejects the term “genocide” and says 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks perished between 1915 and 1917, and they were the casualties of World War I.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that, “For Turkey, it will never be possible to recognize such a sin, such a blame.”
Pope Francis outraged Turkish authorities on Sunday by using the word “genocide” to describe the massacre of Armenians around the time of the World War I. He referred to the event as the “first genocide of the 20th century.”
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said during an event in Ankara on Wednesday that the pontiff has joined “an evil front” plotting against Turkey.
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