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Turkey pulls envoy from Luxembourg over genocide recognition

Published on 07/05/2015

Turkey on Thursday recalled its envoy to Luxembourg to Ankara for consultations after the parliament in the EU member state recognised the mass killings of Armenians in World War I as genocide.

The recall of the envoy is the latest such move by Ankara after it withdrew its ambassadors to the Vatican and Austria over the controversy last month.

“We condemn and strongly reject the unfair resolution the Luxembourg parliament has adopted by distorting the historical facts and the law,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said it had summoned the Luxembourg ambassador to Ankara to protest the resolution, which it said was “far from understanding” the role of parliaments in such issues.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s ambassador to Luxembourg Levent Sahinkaya “has been recalled to Ankara for consultations,” it added.

Turkey had been on a diplomatic offensive in the weeks leading up to the 100th anniversary of the start of the killings of April 24 to ensure the minimum recognition by parliaments.

It was infuriated by the use of the word genocide by Pope Francis and the resolution by the parliament of Austria.

However US President Barack Obama stopped short of using the word genocide when he addressed the issue, to the relief of Turkey.

Armenia and Armenians in the diaspora say up to 1.5 million of their forefathers were killed by Ottoman forces in a targeted campaign of genocide to eradicate the Armenian people from Anatolia in what is now eastern Turkey.

Turkey says hundreds of thousands of Turks and Armenians lost their lives as Ottoman forces battled the Russian empire for control of eastern Anatolia during World War I. It vehemently contests use of the word genocide.

Luxembourg MPs had unanimously agreed the motion to recognise the genocide on Wednesday. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has however stopped short of using the word genocide.

Ahead of the vote, Sahinkaya had already warned Luxembourg deputies in a letter that passing such a motion “would not serve the excellence of our relations”.

Turkey had also been severely irritated by remarks by the presidents of Germany, France and Russia over the controversy during the anniversary.