UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES FROM CAVUSOGLU, AK PARTY DEPUTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP CHAIRMAN
By Baris Gundogan
ANKARA (AA) - European Union Affairs Minister Omer Celik on Friday slammed Dutch parliament's motion recognizing Armenian allegations over the events of 1915 under the Ottoman Empire as "genocide".
"What we expected from Dutch officials...is that they be more careful about these issues. This motion is null and void for us," Celik told reporters in capital Ankara.
On Thursday, the Dutch parliament passed the motion backing the Armenian viewpoint over the 1915 events with 142 votes in favor; Turkish-founded Denk Party opposed it with its three votes.
Joel Voordewind, member of parliament from the coalition party Christian Union (CU), had put forward the motion.
Dutch charge d'affaires was also summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry Friday.
Speaking to reporters in Antalya, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Dutch parliament's motion was "nonbinding".
“The decision is nonbinding; it is a reflection of hostility against Islam,” Cavusoglu said.
The foreign minister said the term genocide is a legal term, not a political one, adding the UN already has a decision on whether genocide term should be used.
"In the end, this decision has no validity for us, no validity in terms of international law, they only satisfied themselves [the Netherlands]," he added.
Earlier, the Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the Dutch parliament's move Thursday night.
"We strongly condemn the decision of the Netherlands' House of Representatives today to recognize the 1915 events as 'genocide'," the Turkish ministry said in its statement.
Describing the Dutch parliament's decision as "baseless", the ministry said the decision had no place in either history or justice. "Therefore, it has no legal binding or validity," it added.
- 'Prejudiced' move
It further said: "Turkey's position regarding 1915 events is based on historical facts and principle of law."
A leading lawmaker of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party also condemned the move, saying the Dutch decision would never be accepted.
"The colonist Netherlands, whose history is full of persecutions and massacres, intends to show our ancestors as those who carry out massacres. This is shamelessness," Mehmet Mus, AK Party's deputy parliamentary group chairman, told Anadolu Agency,.
"It should not be forgotten, the real perpetrator of massacres is the Netherlands' colonist forces that killed thousands of people in Indonesia. The real supporter of massacre are the members of the Netherlands army who were onlookers during the genocide in Srebrenica," Mus said.
He was referring to the July 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys by units of the Bosnian Serb army in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On Friday, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikmet Haciyev termed the Dutch move "prejudiced".
"Armenia, since early 1980s, has attacked Azerbaijan many times and repeatedly committed humanitarian crimes. We would like the Dutch parliament to share their reservations on the 1992 Khojaly massacre as well," Haciyev said.
The massacre on February 25-26, 1992, is regarded as one of the bloodiest and most controversial incidents of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the now-occupied Karabakh region.
Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26 after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment
The two-hour offensive killed 613 Azeri citizens, including 116 women and 63 children and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures.
Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Ankara does not accept the alleged "genocide" but acknowledges there were casualties on both sides during the World War I.
Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide” but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.