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Dutch Parliament Recognizes Armenian Killings As 'Genocide'

A woman is reflected in a Yerevan museum exhibit depicting "tools of genocide" in reference to the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks. (file photo)

Lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament have overwhelmingly passed a motion recognizing as “genocide” the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

However, despite the vote on February 22, acting Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said the Dutch government would not follow the parliament's lead.

Kaag said the cabinet would "continue to exercise restraint" with respect to the politically sensitive issue.

The World War I-era mass slaughter and deportation of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks is considered by many historians and several nations as genocide.

Turkey objects to this, however, saying that Armenians died in much smaller numbers and because of civil strife rather than a planned Ottoman government effort to annihilate the Christian minority.

At least 23 countries, including France and Germany, recognize the killings as genocide.

The Dutch parliament's action is likely to heighten diplomatic tensions between the Netherlands and Turkey.

Relations between Turkey and The Hague worsened in 2017, when the Netherlands refused Turkish ministers access to the country to campaign for a referendum, which eventually passed, giving President Tayyip Erdogan more power.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP