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LN: Armenian genocide resolution may harm Czech diplomatic aims

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Prague, April 27 (CTK) – The resolution condemning Armenian genocide, passed by the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, may threaten the talks on billions of crowns Czech firms want to recover from Turkey and the fate of two Czech activists detained there, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.

The lower house of parliament passed the one-sentence resolution as an addendum to a bill that extends the number of days with the “significant day” status to also include the day of anti-Nazi resistance (June 18) and the anniversary of the mass extermination of prisoners, mostly Czechoslovak Jews, in the Oswiecim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) Nazi camp (March 9).

In the resolution, the lawmakers condemned not only the Holocaust but also “the genocide of Armenians and other ethnic and religious minorities in the territory of the Ottoman Empire during World War One,” LN writes.

On Wednesday, Armenian Foreign Minister Edvard Nalbandyan called the Czech resolution a valuable step, while Turkey, which dismisses the genocide accusations, reacted to it with irritation, the daily writes.

Ahmet Bigali, the Turkish ambassador to Prague, told that Turkey does not recognise the Czech resolution and protests against it.

Some Czech lawmakers have become tools of the Armenian propaganda, Bigali said, according to

Apart from a verbal exchange, the resolution might strongly influence two cases the Czech Republic is trying to solve using cautious diplomatic means and an approach accommodating to Ankara, LN writes.

The first one is the deadlock concerning the Yunus Emre power plant the Czech Vitkovice Machinery Group has built in Turkey for the local Adularya company. The Czech state loaned 11 billion crowns for the project, but Vitkovice Machinery Group faces insolvency now and the power plant does not operate due to an incompatible boiler, the paper writes.

Prague seeks the purchase of the power plant by the Turkish state, an accommodating step on Ankara’s part, which is needed for the Czech state loan to be repaid, it writes.

The other case are the ongoing negotiations about the release of a young Czech couple detained in Turkey and accused of supporting terrorism, LN continues.

Czech diplomats are trying hard to see the two extradited to the Czech Republic after their Turkish trial, but the decision is up to the Turkish Justice Ministry, the daily writes.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has taken note of the above parliamentary resolution, but it has distanced itself from it.

“The assessment of this regrettable event is up to independent historians,” the ministry wrote in a press release, referring to the massacre of Armenians in 1915.

LN writes that diplomats’ behind-the-scenes comments on the resolution have been even sharper.

“Of course, it will have an impact on the two cases. Turks have been closely watching similar things. It [the resolution] may thwart our efforts or push them backwards,” a source from the Foreign Ministry is quoted as saying.

The resolution might cause the Czech-Turkish relations to worsen, Czech MEP Jan Zahradil (Civic Democrats, ODS) said.

The lawmaker who pushed the resolution through is Robin Boehnisch (Social Democrats, CSSD), who heads the Czech-Armenian association. He proposed the resolution on the 102nd anniversary of the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

($1=24.735 crowns)

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