ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)–Turkey is concerned over a decision by the Israeli parliament on Wednesday to have one of its standing committees consider a draft resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper reported Friday citing a Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The Knesset decided by 12 votes to 8, with one abstention, that one of its standing committees will discuss the resolution and determine whether it should be put to a full parliament vote. “We ought to be sensitive and open to the sorrow of others as a nation with a history of experiencing genocide,” resolution lead sponsor, Haim Oron of the Opposition Meretz party said in a speech before the vote. Oron urged parliament to properly recognize the Armenian genocide, saying that “justice needs to be implemented.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted to these developments on Thursday, urging Israel not to allow the resolution to proceed beyond committee. “We expect this attempt to bring no result,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin said at a weekly press conference in Ankara on Thursday.
It is not yet clear which Knesset committee will pick up the measure. Oron wants it to be debated by the Education Committee, having failed to push similar bills through the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in 2009 and 2008. But the government wants the latter panel to again deal with the matter.
The Defense Committee, however, has not voted on Armenian genocide resolutions, highlighting successive Israeli governments’ reluctance to antagonize Turkey, a Muslim partner of the Jewish state.
Turkey, whose ties with Israel have been strained over Prime Minister Erdogan’s harsh criticism of Israel’s actions in Palestine, denies the Genocide and has at time threatened the security of Turkish Jews to thwart Israel and Jewish American groups from supporting Armenian Genocide recognition.
“Our position is clear, not only about the Israeli parliament but about all parliaments’ attempts to judge history. History should be interpreted by historians,” Ozugergin said. Last month, Turkey recalled its ambassadors to Sweden and the United States after resolutions recognizing the Genocide were passed by lawmakers in both countries. The two envoys were sent back, however, after Turkey received what it called “satisfactory messages” from the US and Swedish administrations.
Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu is set to visit Israel soon to discuss this and other bilateral ties.