UPDATES WITH CAVUSOGLU'S STATEMENTS, AZERBAIJAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON
By Baris Gundogan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's 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.
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."
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.