ANKARA — Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s recognition of the killing of Armenians in the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as Genocide has “distorted historical facts,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said June 20 in a statement.

Michel said during a parliamentary session on June 17 that the events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 – 1917 “must be viewed as a genocide.”

“The relationship between history and the future are occasionally complicated. My position is well known, I am of the view that the tragic events should be labeled as genocide, and that is the position of the Belgian government,” Charles Michel declared in the Belgian Parliament.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry slammed the comment, saying Michel’s remark was “neither acceptable nor excusable.”

Michel’s comment came a few months after the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on April 15 recognizing the 1915 events affecting Armenians as Genocide.” Ankara will return the European Parliament (EP) report on Turkey, European Union Minister Volkan Bozkir has said.

On May 29, Mahinur Özdemir, a Brussels regional MP of Turkish origin, was expelled from her party, the Humanist Democratic Center (CHD) after she refused to recognize the 1915 events as “genocide.”

Turkey has already withdrawn ambassadors from Austria, the Vatican, Luxembourg and Brazil for resolutions that name 1915 incidents genocide or similar reasons, but it kept its envoy to Russia, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin using the word genocide and the Russian parliament adopting a likewise resolution on the 1915 events.

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