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Turkey pulls envoy from Brazil over Armenian genocide recognition

AFP , Tuesday 9 Jun 2015
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Turkey said it has recalled its ambassador to Brazil for consultations after the country's senate passed legislation recognising the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War I as genocide.

The Brazilian Senate adopted the resolution on June 2, joining more than 20 other states in officially recognising the mass killings of Armenians from 1915 as genocide.

The Turkish foreign ministry said late Monday that it had recalled Turkey's ambassador to Brasilia, Huseyin Dirioz, back to Ankara.

It said the resolution "distorts the historical facts and overlooks the law."

"Political decisions of this nature, taken under the influence of the Armenian lobbies, can neither change the historical facts nor the legal norms," the ministry said in an emailed statement.

It said it had also summoned Brazil's ambassador to Ankara on June 3 to demand an explanation.

The Brazilian government said it "regrets" Turkey's decision to recall its ambassador and that the Senate resolution does not change Brasilia's official position.

The foreign ministry told AFP the Brazilian government recognizes "the painful tragedy of the Armenians in 1915," but did not use the word genocide.

Armenia and Armenians in the diaspora say up to 1.5 million of their forefathers were killed by Ottoman forces in a targeted campaign of genocide to eradicate them from Anatolia in what is now eastern Turkey.

Turkey says hundreds of thousands of Turks and Armenians lost their lives as Ottoman forces battled the Russian Empire for control of eastern Anatolia during World War I. It vehemently contests the use of the word genocide.

The recall of the Turkish envoy to Brazil is the latest such move by Ankara, which has been on a diplomatic offensive in recent months aimed at preventing parliaments from recognising the killing as genocide for the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

In April, Turkey recalled its ambassador to the Vatican after Pope Francis labelled the killings as genocide.

Turkey also withdrew its envoys to Luxembourg and Austria after the two countries recognised the killings as genocide in the weeks leading up to the April 24 anniversary.

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