VIENNA—Turkey recalled its Ambassador to Vienna after Austrian lawmakers recognized the Armenian Genocide, Today’s Zaman reports.
Earlier this week, leaders of Austria’s six major parties issued a statement declaring that Austria, as a former ally of the Ottoman Empire, had a “duty to recognize and condemn these horrific events as genocide.”
They also called on Turkey to take responsibility for its role in the mass murders.
“It is Turkey’s duty to face the dark and painful chapter of its past and recognize the crimes committed against Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide,” the statement said.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry recalled Turkey’s Ambassador to Vienna Mehmet Hasan Göğüş to Ankara for consultations after the Austrian Parliament’s decision.
The recognition comes amidst possibility that Germany might recognize the killings as genocide as well. A parliamentary motion to label the 1915 mass killings of Ottoman Armenians as “genocide,” is to be debated by German lawmakers this Friday.
“It should be known that Turkey and the Turkish nation will not forget this slander uttered against their history,” Turkey‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, adding that the decision “will leave permanent stains on the Turkish-Austrian friendship.”
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Thursday rejected harsh criticism from Turkey.
“The declaration of the Austrian Parliament is to be respected,” said Kurz. “Now it is appropriate to look towards the future and work towards reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.”
The Austrian Parliament stopped short of adopting a formal resolution, but six parliamentary parties joined in the declaration.
“Because of the historical responsibility – the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy was allied to the Ottoman Empire – it is our duty to recognize and condemn the horrible events as genocide,” it said.
“Turkey must bring light into the dark of history in order to reappraise this issue in a transparent manner,” the Austrian statement said.
Turkey has also recalled its ambassador to the Vatican after Pope Francis last week said the Armenians were victims of “the first genocide of the 20th century.”