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Turkish ambassador returns to Sweden

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Turkish ambassador returns to Sweden
Carl Bildt pays a visit to the Turkish Youth Association of Sweden
07:54 CET+01:00
Turkey has announced that its ambassador will return to Sweden, despite a vote by parliament in Stockholm to recognize as genocide the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Zergün Korutürk will "again take up her job this week or early next week at the latest", Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Turkish television channel CNN-Turk.

The Swedish parliament on March 11th recognised the massacres of Armenians and other ethnic groups during World War I as genocide, immediately sparking a diplomatic row with Turkey and prompting Ankara to call back its ambassador.

The Swedish government had opposed the resolution.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt apologised to Ankara, a move which his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan called "very positive".

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt also said that the position of his government, which supports Turkey's entry into the European Union, "remains unchanged".

"We think it is a mistake to politicise history," Bildt wrote on his blog.

"Unfortunately the decision of the parliament will not facilitate the process of normalisation between Turkey and Armenia, nor the work of a commission which should investigate the events of 1915," he added.

Davutoglu on Wednesday welcomed Stockholm's position and called the vote "absurd".

A US Congress panel had branded the World War I massacre of Armenians as genocide a week before the Swedish vote, sparking a diplomatic row, with Turkey also recalling its ambassador from Washington.

Davutoglu said he was wary of sending the Turkish ambassador back to Washington as the two cases were different.

"The Swedes clearly apologised," he said.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were killed in systematic massacres during World War I as the Ottoman Empire fell apart. This version has the support of the main body of global research opinion.

Turkey counters that between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks perished in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian forces.

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