Sweden labels mass killing of Armenians genocide

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 12, 2010 08:19

 
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Sweden's parliament narrowly approved a resolution Thursday recognizing the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in Turkey as genocide, prompting the Turkish government to recall its ambassador in protest.

The measure passed with a one-vote margin in a surprise decision that came a week after a US congressional committee approved a similar resolution.

Sweden's governing center-right coalition opposed the measure but it passed in a 131-130 vote because a handful of center-right lawmakers broke party lines. Eighty-eight lawmakers were absent in the 349-seat assembly.

"After 95 years it is time for people who have suffered so long to obtain redress," said Gulan Avci, a Liberal Party lawmaker who broke her party's line and backed the measure, which had been proposed by the left-leaning opposition. Avci is a Kurdish immigrant from Turkey.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

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