Diplomatic row between Italy and Turkey over Armenian genocide recognition

A diplomatic episode is under way between Italy and Turkey on the occasion of the proposal submitted to the Italian Parliament for the recognition of the Armenian massacre by the Ottomans in 1915-16 as genocide, a terminology rejected by Turkey.

At the same time, Italian Interior Minister Mateo Salvini strongly rejects the possibility of Turkey’s European integration into the European Union, noting that “Brussels should stop giving billions to Ankara. Turkey is not in Europe and it will never happen. ”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry called on Monday the Italian ambassador to Ankara to express its regret over the proposal submitted to the Italian Parliament and to ask for clarification of Italy’s position, Ansa said on diplomatic sources.

Sequential Turkish governments strongly refuse to use the term genocide for the mass expulsion and killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians during the period of the Ottoman Empire, of which Turkey is the successor state.

Ankara claims that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians died and that (these deaths) were largely the result of the turmoil during World War I and  can not be called genocide.

The Italian Parliament discussed on Monday a Lega proposal aimed at “officially recognizing the genocide of the Armenians and giving the issue international attention”, according to Ansa.

The proposal will be put to a vote tomorrow, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica said.

Meanwhile, Italy’s hard-line Interior Minister Mateo Salvini reiterated his opposition to EU funding for Turkey, writing to Twiter that the country “is not, and will never, become a part of Europe.”

Turkey has been a candidate for EU membership for nearly 20 years but has taken backward steps towards Union criteria in areas such as the rule of law, citizens’ rights and press freedom after the 2016 coup attempt.

Twenty governments, including those of France, Germany and Russia, have recognized the genocide of the Armenians. The Pope referred to events as “the first genocide of the 20th century” in 2015.