TURKEY REJECTS BULGARIA’S REFERENCE TO 1915 INCIDENTS AS ‘MASS MURDER’

Building of Bulgarian parliament. (Photo: News Cafe file)
Building of Bulgarian parliament. (Photo: News Cafe file)

Ankara, 8 Rajab 1436/27 April 2015 (MINA) – Turkey has officially rejected the decision adopted by the Bulgarian parliament regarding the events of 1915.

The Bulgarian parliament approved a declaration on Friday that refers to the 1915 events as “mass murder” and declares April 24 as “Commemoration Day of the Victims.”

Releasing a statement late on Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the decision is “slander” against Turkish history and said the move was initiated by “the ultra-nationalist, xenophobic, racist ATAKA Party, which is also against Euro-Atlantic values.”

The ministry said the party “demonstrates an antagonistic attitude towards Turkey.”

“Our neighbor Bulgaria’s Parliament has unfortunately been taken hostage by the extremist elements within itself, by ignoring the humanitarian and concrete initiatives that Turkey has taken in this historical issue,” the statement added, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

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“No doubt, this decision will negatively affect Turkey-Bulgaria relations. These views have also been expressed to Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Ankara, who has been invited to our Ministry today,” the ministry said.

The declaration was supported by 157 Bulgarian members of parliament, while 36 MPs were against it.

Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov had arrived before the vote in parliament and interfered in the final draft of the declaration, replacing the phrase “genocide” with “mass murder.”

The only MPs, who were against the declaration, were all from the Movement for Rights and Freedom party, whose members are mostly Turks.

“Relations with our neighbors can be permanently damaged,” said the party’s chairman Lutvi Mestan in a speech before the voting.

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After the vote, President of Bulgaria’s National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva, invited all MPs “to honor the victims with a minute of silence” during which members of the Movement for Rights and Freedom party left in protest.

“This decision will seriously damage relations between Turkey and Bulgaria,” Friendship Group Bulgaria-Turkey Chairman Shabani Ahmed told The Anadolu Agency.

He stated that Bulgaria’s parliament has “signed a historically wrong decision” and added that it was unacceptable.

Turkey has called for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and the opening of archives to study and uncover what happened between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian citizens.

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The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted.

The relocation by the Ottomans of Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties. Turkey does not dispute that there were casualties on both sides, but rejects calling the events “genocide.” (T/P001/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

 

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