‘Armenian genocide’ vote: Turkey warns Germany

Erdogan says relations will be “seriously affected” after Germany identifies 1915 Ottoman era killings as “genocide”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said bilateral relations between Germany and Turkey will be “seriously affected”, after the German parliament labelled as “genocide” the 1915 killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

Erdogan, speaking during a visit to Kenya on Thursday, said, as a first step, Turkey was calling its ambassador to Berlin for consultations and other steps against Germany would be discussed soon.

Turkey agrees that many Armenians died in ethnic fighting and the deportation process between 1915 and 1917 during World War I, putting its estimate at 300,000 casualties.

Armenia says 1.5 million died in the process in what it calls a “genocide”.

Three largest Turkish political parties condemned Thursday’s German resolution in a joint declaration.

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The statement by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was read out at the parliament.

The pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not take part in the declaration. 

“We strongly denounce the resolution which is based on baseless Armenian claims. It has no historical or legal legitimacy,” read the statement.

Speaking at an event in Ankara, Binali Yildirim, newly appointed Turkish prime minister, called the resolution “fallacious”, saying there was nothing in Turkey’s past to be ashamed of.

The German motion, which was put forward by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition and the opposition Greens, was passed with support from all the parties in the parliament.

The vote on Thursday came at an awkward time for Merkel as Germany and the EU rely on Turkey to help check the flow of refugees into Europe. 

‘Awkward timing’

Merkel, who did not take part in the vote due to “public engagements”, spoke later about the close ties between the two countries, saying that Germany’s relations with Turkey remain “broad and strong”.

“There is a lot that binds Germany to Turkey and even if we have a difference of opinion on an individual matter, the breadth of our links, our friendship, our strategic ties, is great,” Merkel said.

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She said Germany supported dialogue between Turkey and Armenia and sought good relations with the former.

Edward Nalbandian, Armenia’s foreign minister, said the German parliament’s decision was a “valuable contribution” to the “international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide”.

‘Moral decision’

Huseyin Bagci, a professor of International Relations at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, told Al Jazeera that he expected further fallout to affect Turkey-Germany ties following the vote.

“The decision of the German parliament is a moral decision, not a political one,” he said.

“This decision has no binding consequences for Turkey.”

Bagci said: “The Turkish side will show a great reaction to this.”

On the centenary of the events, which was commemorated on April 24, 2015, the European Parliament published a non-legislative resolution in which they urged Turkey to recognise the genocide. 

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies