Bulgaria’s ambassador in Ankara was summoned by the Turkish foreign ministry because of the resultion adopted by the National Assembly in Sofia on the 1915 “mass killing” of Armenians, separate statements by the Bulgarian and Turkish foreign ministries said on April 26.
On April 24, Bulgaria’s unicameral Parliament, the National Assembly, adopted a resolution acknowledging the “mass killings” of Armenians under the Ottoman empire in the 1915/22 period and declaring the day an annual commemoration of the victims of the killings.
Days of political acrimony over the resolution saw Parliament dilute, following the intervention of majority governing partner GERB, the wording from referring to the “Armenian Genocide” to “mass killings”.
The initial version of the resolution was tabled by ultra-nationalist far-right minority party Ataka, which eight times since 2006 has sought to get Bulgaria’s Parliament to formally endorse a stance on the Armenian Genocide. Governments in Sofia generally have been wary about the issue because of concerns about damaging relations with Ankara.
Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said on April 26 that the previous day, the ambassador in Ankara had been invited to a meeting at Turkey’s foreign ministry in connection with the National Assembly resolution.
“The Turkish side put forward its views on the events, leading to the decision of the Bulgarian Parliament, as well as the manner and consequences of its adoption,” Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry said that, in response, Bulgarian ambassador Krasimir Tulechki had “clarified the nature and meaning of the declaration”, adopted by a large majority of the National Assembly, as well as the fact that it was not directed against present-day Republic of Turkey.
“Bulgaria emphasises its willingness to develop the bilateral relations on equal basis in all areas of mutual interest and will work consistently towards achieving this goal,” the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said.
In its statement, Turkey’s foreign ministry said that the decision adopted by Bulgaria’s Parliament “regarding the events of 1915, initiated by the ultra-nationalist, xenophobic, racist ATAKA Party, which is also against the Euro-Atlantic values, demonstrates an antagonistic attitude towards Turkey”.
“Turkey rejects this slander against its history,” the foreign ministry in Ankara said.
“Our neighbour Bulgaria’s Parliament has unfortunately been taken hostage by the extremist elements within itself, by ignoring the humanitarian and concrete initiatives that Turkey has taken in this historical issue.
“No doubt, this decision will negatively affect Turkey- Bulgaria relations,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.
These views had been put to Bulgaria’s ambassador, the ministry said.
Turkey’s foreign ministry has also posted, on the English-language version of its website, messages from Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and by Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on the issue.
Erdogan repeated his condolences to the victims’ descendants, without calling the killings genocide.
Turkey rejects allegations of a systematic campaign to commit mass murder of Armenians and says that large numbers of Muslim Turkish people died during the same period.
(Photo of the Turkish foreign ministry building: Vikiçizer)