Turkey's prime minister on Wednesday rejected a European Parliament resolution calling on Ankara to recognize the mass killings of Armenians around the time of World War I as genocide. The EU lawmakers said in their resolution that recognition of the 1915-1923 killings as genocide should be a prerequisite for Turkey to join the European Union. Armenians say that 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, which Armenians and several nations around the world recognize as the first genocide of the 20th century.
Turkey denies that the massacres were genocide, saying the death toll is inflated and Armenians were killed in civil unrest as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the AP reports. Speaking to Turkish reporters in Abu Dhabi, Erdogan also reiterated his view that the EU has to admit Turkey or risk being branded a "Christian Club." "What will the EU achieve by admitting Turkey? It will become a bridge between the 1.5-billion strong Muslim world and the EU. It will start an alliance of civilizations," he added. AM