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No: 126, 22 April 2015, Press Release Regarding the Joint Declaration issued by the Austrian Parliament on the Events of 1915

The declaration on the events of 1915 issued today upon the signature of the chairs of the groups of political parties in the Austrian Parliament is cause for great resentment on our part. The Austrian Parliament has neither the right nor the competence to accuse the Turkish nation of a crime in a manner contrary to law and historical truth. It should be known that Turkey and the Turkish nation will not forget this slander uttered against their history.

It seems that Austria, with whom we fought on the same side during World War I, and which should be in the best position to recognize that this great tragedy cannot be defined as "genocide", has also fallen prey to the efforts of some circles bent on manipulating perceptions, in complete insistence in ignoring the humanitarian and concrete initiatives of Turkey.

The fact that the joint declaration does not even care to mention the Muslims who lost their lives during that same period all the while sharing the suffering of all Christian groups, is a sad and clear indication of discrimination on religious grounds by the very persons who claim to base their actions on humanitarian foundations. Needless to say, such discrimination will fall dreadfully short in helping to solve problems at hand. We therefore reject such a biased attitude of the Austrian Parliament and its ill-formulated and indeed antiquated approach in providing uninvited history lessons to third parties.

Viewing the events of World War I through twisted lenses, professing selective-and even worse-discriminative opinions and making light of heavy accusations such as genocide is nothing short of a massacre of law. As such, this outrageous behaviour is rigorously rejected by Turkey. It will not be possible to lay the burden of such a great crime, which it has not committed, on Turkey’s shoulders through political pressures of any kind.

It is evident that the declaration issued by the Austrian Parliament will leave permanent stains on Turkish-Austrian friendship.

Our views on this matter have been conveyed to the Ambassador of Austria in Ankara today, and the Turkish Ambassador in Vienna, Mr. Hasan Göğüş, has also been recalled to Turkey for consultations.