777) Swiss FM lays wreath at monument to Armenian "genocide"

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey laid a wreath earlier this week at a monument dedicated to the killings of Anatolian Armenians during World War I, which her country recognizes as genocide.

Calmy-Rey laid the wreath in Yerevan during a meeting on Monday with her Armenian counterpart, said the Armenian Foreign Ministry in a statement.

The Swiss lower house of parliament in December 2003 recognized the killings as genocide, angering Turkey and prompting Ankara to cancel an official visit by the Swiss foreign minister.

When Calmy-Rey finally visited Turkey in March 2005 she called on Ankara to undertake an in-depth investigation into the issue.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the latter years of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey categorically rejects the claims, saying 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when the Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with Russian troops invading Ottoman soil.

ANK - TDN with AFP



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