Turkey Recalls Swedish Ambassador over Resolution

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ANKARA - One week after Turkey recalled its U.S. ambassador over passage of a resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide of 1915, Turkey's prime minister sent the Swedish ambassador packing on Thursday after Sweden's parliament passed a similar resolution.
"We strongly condemn this resolution, which is made for political calculations," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.

"It does not correspond to the close friendship between our two nations. We are recalling our ambassador for consultations," he said.

Erdogan also canceled a summit between the two countries scheduled for March 17.

The Turkish prime minister made similar remarks to the U.S. after the House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved a resolution calling on President Obama to "characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide."

Both the U.S. resolution and the Swedish vote passed by narrow margins.

Efforts by the White House and U.S. State Department to dissuade the committee from voting on the resolution failed.

Earlier in the week during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan said he would not return Turkey's U.S. ambassador until the situation is clarified.

"As long as we don't see clarity in the situation about the Armenian bill, we will not send our ambassador [back]," Erdogan said.

Survivors of the genocide, who for years have lobbied the nations of the world to acknowledge the genocide, lauded the decision.

The forced death-march into the Syrian desert and subsequent murder of hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians, which has been historically documented, has become a political minefield today.

While Turkey admits that tens of thousands of Armenian Christians were killed by Ottoman Turks in 1915, it rejects applying the term "genocide" to the slayings.

Both France and Canada have acknowledged the genocide, while neither Britain nor the U.S. has.

Turkey has played a key role in Western interests in Middle East affairs, especially in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria, and is strongly opposed to labeling the massacres as genocide.


Reuters contributed to this report.

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