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Turkey slams Dutch 'Armenian genocide' vote

Ankara dismisses Dutch parliament's overwhelming majority vote to recognise World War I killings as a genocide.

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik

Turkey has dismissed the Dutch parliament's vote to recognise the World War I killings of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire as "genocide".

In comments made to reporters in Ankara on Friday, Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said the move was "null and void" and that Turkey expected Dutch officials to be "more careful" about the issue.

His comments were coupled with a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement that described the 142 to three majority vote as "baseless".

The Turkish response questioned the right of Dutch officials to define the events as genocide, pointing to the Netherland's alleged role in allowing the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Bosniak Muslims by Serbian paramilitaries. 

In June 2017, a Dutch court confirmed a ruling that held the country's UN peacekeepers "partially responsible" for the Srebrenica killings. 

READ MORE: Erdogan: Armenia 'genocide' used to blackmail Turkey

"The baseless decisions of the House of Representatives of a country who was a bystander to the Srebrenica genocide, an undying pain in the middle of Europe, have no place either in history or in justice," the Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said.

"Thus, they are neither legally binding nor have any validity," it added.

Turkey has long opposed international attempts to describe the killings of Armenians more than a century ago as genocide.

The country's officials hold that killings took place on "both sides" and describe the events as a tragedy for both sides.

Deteriorating ties

Turkey's Foreign Ministry also summoned the Dutch charge d'affaires on Friday, Anadolu news agency reported. 

The Netherlands formally withdrew its ambassador to Ankara in February, but Turkey had denied entry to the diplomat since March the previous year.

Tensions between the two states escalated during campaigning for Turkey's 2017 constitutional referendum, in which a narrow majority gave Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greater executive powers in a role that had until then been largely ceremonial.

Dutch police prevented senior Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, from addressing campaign rallies inside the Netherlands.

The country, along with several other EU states is home to large diaspora Turkish communities, the majority of whom hold Turkish nationality and the right to vote in Turkey.

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