(AFP)–French insurer AXA said on Wednesday that its decision to indemnify heirs of Armenian genocide victims was neither politically motivated nor amounted to a recognition of the Genocide.
"AXA–as a private sector company–has not [and does not] express any view or opinion on the political or historical issues concerning the nature of the events in Turkey in 1915," the company said in a statement. "From AXA’s perspective this case is exclusively about meeting our obligations under unpaid insurance contracts," it said.
AXA unleashed a wave of anger in Turkey after it agreed last month to settle a class action lawsuit in the United States by descendants of victims of the Armenian genocide for $17 million. Armenia’s hailed the settlement as a boost for the international campaign to have the Genocide recognized.
Under the deal–AXA will donate at least $3 million to various French-based Armenian charities and $11 million to a fund designed to pay out to policy holders of AXA units that did business in the Ottoman Empire–the predecessor of modern Turkey. The deal also dealt a blow to OYAK–an industrial venture representing the Turkish army pension fund–which has been AXA’s partner in Turkey since 1999.
A powerful Turkish civil servants’ union–Memur-Sen–said Monday it had decided to boycott AXA and urged Oyak to terminate its partnership with the French company.