Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The Dutch Parliament on Thursday voted to recognize that Turkey committed genocide against Armenians during World War I.
Turkey has long denied Armenia's claim that it committed genocide during that time when up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed, arguing the deaths were a result of war, not ethnic cleansing.
"The politicization of 1915 events by taking them out of historical context is unacceptable," a spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry said after the vote, according to the BBC.
The motion, which passed 142-3, will involve sending Cabinet-level representatives to Armenia for a commemoration event in April.
In a statement, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian praised the motion.
"With this step, the Parliament of the Netherlands once again reconfirmed its commitment to universal human values and the noble cause of prevention of genocides and crimes against humanity," Nalbandian said.
The motion comes at a time when relations between the Netherlands and Turkey are stressed. Earlier this month, the Dutch government withdrew its ambassador to Turkey.
But Dutch MP Joël Voordewind, who wrote the motion, said the objective was to acknowledge history.
"That is not the same thing as casting aspersions as Turkey has done towards the Netherlands," he said.
According to the Armenian National Institute, 28 countries. In the United States, some U.S. presidents and congressional committees have used the term genocide to describe the massacre of Armenians, but other U.S. leaders have been hesitant to use the language out of fear of alienating Turkey. Forty-eight of 50 states passed proclamations officially recognizing the genocide.