April 16, 2015 / 7:04 PM / in 3 years

EU's Schulz told Turkey he understood reaction to genocide vote: sources

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - European Parliament President Martin Schulz told Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday he “understands” Ankara’s reaction to a vote calling the 1915 mass killing of Armenians a genocide, sources in the prime minister’s office said.

EU parliament president Martin Schulz speaks at a news conference in Beijing March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

In a telephone call, Schulz also said the vote was made in his absence, the sources, who declined to be identified, said. There was no immediate comment from Schulz’s office.

The European Parliament backed a motion on Wednesday to call the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a genocide, days after Pope Francis triggered fury in Turkey by using the same term.

Muslim Turkey agrees that Christian Armenians were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces that began on April 15, 1915, when large numbers of Armenians lived in the empire ruled by Istanbul, but denies that this amounted to genocide.

President Tayyip Erdogan said even before the vote took place that he would ignore the result.

Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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