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Turkey acquitted of the Armenian genocide in Malta – Turkish foreign minister

Turkey acquitted of the Armenian genocide in Malta – Turkish foreign minister

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis denied claims that his country was responsible for the Armenian genocide of 1915, citing a court ruling in Malta dating back to 1919 which, according to him, acquitted some 120 people who had been exiled here to face charges stemming from this atrocious event in modern history.

In a report published on Monday by the Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News, the minister, who paid a visit to Malta last week, was quoted by the Anatolia News Agency as saying that his country was ‘acquitted’ of the 1915 incidents in Malta.

Speaking during a weekend visit to the north western Turkish province of Canakkale, Egemen Bagis was quoted saying: “The then-ministers, commanders and high-level officials were among those who were exiled to Malta. They were tried under British control for two years there. Some 120 people were all acquitted of (charges). The ruling was made by a British judge. In other words, Turkey was acquitted of the 1915 incident in Malta.”

The Turkish minister referred to the letter sent to Armenia in 2005 by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in which he said that Turkey would “face its history if (Armenia is) also ready to do so.” Mr Bagis also recalled Mr Erdogan’s calls for the establishment of an international commission made up of historians to discuss the 1915 ‘incidents’ with all the documents on the table.

The Armenian genocide, also referred to as the Armenian Holocaust, is commemorated annually on 24 April. It refers to the systematic killing of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I. Historians estimate that the total number of Armenians killed varies between one million and 1.5 million.

This is widely acknowledged as one of the first modern genocides, as scholars point to the organised manner in which the killings were carried out to eliminate the Armenians and it is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust. Malta is not among the 20 countries out of the 193 United Nations member states that officially recognise the Armenian genocide.

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