Turkey recalled its ambassador to Austria on Wednesday in protest over Austrian lawmakers’ condemnation of the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turk forces 100 years ago as “genocide,” according to the Muslim Issue.
“The declaration by the Austrian parliament permanently scarred the friendship and relations between Turkey and Austria,” the Turkish foreign ministry said, announcing it was recalling ambassador Hasan Gogus “for consultations”.
Two days before the centenary of the killings in eastern Turkey, Austrian parliamentarians held a minute of silence Wednesday for the victims of what they labelled a “genocide” for the first time.
“April 24, 1915 marks the beginning of the persecutions, which ended in genocide,” parliament president Doris Bures said before the silent tribute.
The leaders of Austria’s six major parties also issued a statement declaring that Austria, as a former ally of the Ottoman Empire, had a “duty to recognise and condemn these horrific events as genocide”.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has told his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz that bilateral ties will get affected in the aftermath of the Austrian Parliament describing the 1915 events as “genocide,” diplomatic sources said.
“It is Turkey’s duty to face the dark and painful chapter of its past and recognise the crimes committed against Armenians under the Ottoman empire as genocide,” the statement read.
The Turkish foreign ministry accused the Austrians of “historically tendentious behaviour” and an “insult to the Turkish people that is contrary to the facts”.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis drew Turkey’s wrath after describing the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century”.
Turkey summoned the Vatican’s ambassador in Ankara over the remarks and recalled the Turkish envoy to the Holy See.
More than 20 nations, including France and Russia, have recognised the Armenian genocide.