• Sweden edition
 

Turkey PM hails 'friend' Reinfeldt

Published: 17 Mar 2010 08:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Mar 2010 08:52 GMT+01:00

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt's decision to distance himself from a Swedish parliament vote on the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks has been hailed as "very positive" by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Speaking after talks with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London, Erdogan welcomed a telephone call made by Swedish premier on Saturday, voicing his sadness over the vote.

"I believe that the statements made by my friend the prime minister of Sweden Mr Reinfeldt are very important," he said, speaking through a translator.

"He has explained in his statements that such decisions taken by the parliament of Sweden are politicising... he regrets to see that such decisions are being taken and he also assures that the Swedish people have very positive views about the Turkish people."

Erdogan added: "I believe that these are all very positive statements... and I thank him for it."

Sweden's parliament moved last week to recognise as genocide the mass killings of Armenians and other ethnic groups in 1915 during the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, going against the government's advice.

Ankara quickly recalled its ambassador and cancelled a visit by Erdogan to Sweden after the vote, which came just days after a similar move by a US Congressional panel.

Armenians, and the majority of international researchers, say up to 1.5 million of their kin were killed in a systematic campaign of extermination during World War I as the Ottoman Empire fell apart.

Turkey categorically rejects the genocide label, arguing that between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks were killed in civil strife when Armenians rose up for independence and sided with invading Russian forces.

But much to Ankara's ire, parliaments in several countries have recognized the killings as genocide.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:06 March 17, 2010 by psagajeva
The problem here is: isn't there an international body that can take care of this matter and where Sweden can give its opinion? why should Sweden turn it into a personal thing by voting internally? Are Swedish politicians the competent that can decide on historical facts? If genocide is bothering Sweden so much or other countries, why don't they start doing something about what is happening in Palestine? or are they waiting for it to turn into an historical fact that they will vote for after people have died?
11:37 March 17, 2010 by Audrian
I think the PM did the right thing. The point is not whether it is a genocide or not, it is that it is selective. The world is turblant, made worse by the arbitrariness of the dominant powers. Farsighted leaders in small nations should have the wisdom and courage to navigate carefully.
13:47 March 17, 2010 by Jan M
I'd be interested in the constitutional situation in Sweden. If the Swedish parliament votes on something and the PM then tries to disown the results of the vote does that count as an undemocratic and therefore unconstitutional act on his part. I know Reinfeldt has a gutless sense of self interest but surely there should be limits to it.
15:22 March 17, 2010 by Nemesis
A suggestion to sort this out and make everyone happy.

Deport Reinfeldt to the part of Turkey were Armenians were slaughtered and let him wallow in the suffering that was imposed.

Then we in Europe will have one less idiot to contend with.

The Turks can keep him.
15:33 March 17, 2010 by psagajeva
@nemesis. Lol. its ridiculous the way you precept the east specifically Turks, as if they were some savage animals in Africa where you drop a cow and they will make it into pieces in a blink of an eye. Very funny. It seems that you don't have a clue about eastern countries. Go out of your country and broaden your world cause its nothing like that plus we are talking about year 1915 here, its a century past.
16:08 March 17, 2010 by Gurkhan
such a pity that most of the arguements are being carried out by populist people who have no idea about historical accuracy or any intention to learn something further about a debatable event that took place a century ago...

and also quite strange that the swedish parliament traditionally distanced itself from "writing history" and today this is a breakthrough that can only lead to worsening of political arena in sweden; unfortunately this will bring yet another term for reinfeldt probably...
17:26 March 17, 2010 by zircon
Erdogan:"... My friend Reinfeldt.." Whahahhahah!! Next thing he'll be saying is that PM Reinfeldt is so cute... Hahaha...
18:47 March 17, 2010 by Nemesis
@ zircon

Yup, Turkey's first gay marriage:)
21:00 March 17, 2010 by Abbot
@psagajeva

What's happening in Palestine is peanuts compared to what the Turks did. If the world can turn a blind eye to 1.5 million dead Armenians, then a 1000+ dead Palestinians isn't worthy of even a sigh.
21:19 March 17, 2010 by zircon
Nemesis- Not exactly, since most global politicians belong to a fraternity society. We underestimate the Turks for too long now. Part of their wealthy society is more secular/ academic and global than we think.
07:49 March 18, 2010 by Nemesis
@ zircon

I have been there.

I have shopped in Istanbul and travelled to Ankara were I saw how medieval the society really is.

Istanbul is a fairly open city. Ankara still has to reach the dark ages.
19:35 March 19, 2010 by munched
Instead of flying half of Turkey all the way here to Sweden, why don't they fly ALL the Turks half way here?
15:38 March 28, 2010 by aylin
Let us evaluate why the Armenians urge politicians and school boards to use the word genocide', while vehemently rejecting to present their thesis in scholar and judicial platforms from a different perspective:

Armenia's attitude towards Turkey's land integrity: Article 13 (second paragraph) of Armenian constitution declares the 'Ağrı Mountain' in the Eastern Anatolia of Turkey, as the state symbol of Armenia . Article 11 of the Armenian Declaration of Independence of August 23, 1990; refers to Eastern Anatolia of Turkey as Western Armenia and as such beholds that this area is part of Armenia. Since the Armenian constitution recognizes as a basis "the fundamental principles of the Armenian statehood and national aspirations engraved in the Declaration of Independence of Armenia", it likewise accepts the characterization of Eastern Anatolia as Western Armenia and this, albeit indirectly, translates into the advancement of territorial claims. The Armenian politicians and school books call Eastern Anatolia of Turkey, 'invaded mother land of Armenia' and in Armenia the school children are being grown up being conditioned to be patriots to rescue their invaded land. Even the marches they sing are about this condition. The Armenians who write in such blogs that the Eastern Anatolia cities do not belong to Turkey, as if the present Eastern boundaries of Turkey was not determined by treaties of Gumru (1920), Moscow (1921) and the whole boundaries by Lausanne (1923) Treaties; after the Turkish Freedom War.

Additionally Armenia refused Turkey's recurrent offers to commit an agreement declaring that each country recognizes the other country's land integrity, in 1992 and later.

'Western Armenian lands must be returned to Armenia, said Armenia's Ambassador to Switzerland, famous singer Charles Aznavour in an interview with Italian RIA3 television channel. 'When I was born, in 1924, [they] promised Armenia the return of lands. I am 85 years old and I cannot wait much longer, said Aznavour'. In 1924, Stalin promised Armenia the return of Erzeroum, Erzngan, Sebastia, Kharpert, Dikranagert, Bitlis, Van, Moush⦠The Wilsonian Armenia also included regions of Trabizon, Erzeroum, Van and Bitlis (November 3, 2009;Asbarez Staff)

In reply to the question 'What does Western Armenia mean to Dashnaktsutyun - a geographical area or a historical homeland? , ARMEN ROUSTAMYAN, representative of the ARFD Supreme Body in Armenia and Head of the NA Committee on Foreign Relations replied: "For us, Armenia is Armenia in its integrity, including all its parts: northern, southern, eastern and western. The Armenia we imagine begins from the Armenian-Turkish border which was once clearly demarcated by US President Mr. Wilson. And when we say our goal is to create a free, independent and united Armenia, we mean the Armenia I just spoke about." http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2008/09/2581-armenia-turkey-match-news.html
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