There has been outrage in Turkey against Sweden after the country’s parliament narrowly voted to describe as genocide the killing of Armenians in the First World War. Turkish Labour Party supporters made their anger known outside the Swedish consulate in Istanbul.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has cancelled a planned visit to Stockholm next week in protest, attacked the vote at a public meeting.
“This subject should be left to the historians,” he said. Turkey resents the term genocide, arguing that those who died were victims of civil war. It’s recalled its ambassador to Sweden in protest.
“The fact that the issue is used as a threat by different countries,” said the prime minister, “I find that unjust and incomprehensible.”
The Swedish parliament passed the resolution by just one vote, despite opposition from the ruling centre-right coalition. Other government representatives have sought to play down the row.
“The decision in the Swedish parliament will in no way affect the very strong support that Swedish government has exerted with regards to the ascension of turkey to the EU”, said Christer Asp, Swedend’s ambassador in Istanbul.
The Swedish vote comes less than a week after a US congressional committee narrowly approved a similar resolution – a move which also sparked anger from Turkey.