Spain’s upper parliament has rejected a bill to recognize Armenian claims regarding the 1915 events.
The Senate of Spain on Wednesday dismissed the proposal tabled by Entesa – a political group active in the Catalonian region – with 130 votes against and 14 in favor, along with 68 abstentions.
Speaking during the voting session, ruling People’s Party MP Jose Maria Chiquillo said: “We as the parliament cannot put ourselves in the position of historians or a court.”
The People’s Party was the only national political party that voted against, while the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, Catalonian nationalist coalition Convergence and Union, Canarian Coalition, Asturias Forum and Navarrese People’s Union abstained.
“Genocide is not a simple word,” Chiquillo said. “It is a historical and legal issue.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Ambassador in Madrid, Omer Onhon, said Wednesday that it was important for Spain to adopt an “unbiased approach” to the issue.
“I hope this sets an example for other European Union states to follow,” he said.
The 1915 events occurred during World War I when a part of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted.
The relocation of Armenians by the Ottomans in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey does not dispute that there were casualties on both sides, but rejects calling the events “genocide.” Instead, it calls for a joint commission of historians to be established and archives to be opened in order to study and uncover what happened between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian citizens.