Monday

27th May 2019

Erdogan warns Germany on Armenia genocide vote

  • The Armenian genocide memorial in Yerevan (Photo: DziDzernagapert)

If German MPs vote to formally recognise a 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide, the country's relations with Turkey will be damaged, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned.

"If Germany fell in this trap, it would damage our future diplomatic, economic, political, commercial and military relations," Erdogan said on Tuesday (31 May), noting that Germany and Turkey were both Nato members.

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The German Bundestag is due to vote on Thursday on a resolution that says that the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces during World War I was a genocide.

"The fate of the Armenians is exemplary in the history of mass exterminations, ethnic cleansing, deportations and yes, genocide, which marked the 20th century in such a terrible way," says the resolution, which is non-binding. 

It adds that Germany, an ally of the Ottoman Empire at the time, "bears partial responsibility for the events".

A vote on the resolution was planned last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the events but it was postponed for diplomatic reasons.

The Greens put it back on the agenda and the text is backed by the Christian Democrats (CDU) of chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel's foreign minister, social democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier, however said it would be "unwise to jeopardise from the outside" the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia on the issue.

Erdogan phoned Merkel on Tuesday to express his "concern" and tell her he expected "common sense" from Germany, according to German and Turkish media.

On Monday, Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim said that Germany's Turkish community was concerned by the Bundestag's "baseless and unfair" action.

The vote comes as the EU, and especially Germany, increasingly depend on Turkey to keep refugees from coming to Europe through the Greek islands after an agreement made in March.

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