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19th Aug 2019

Armenia killings were genocide, German MPs say

  • Merkel was absent at the German Bundestag when MPs voted on the Armenia resolution (Photo: Deutscher Bundestag/Lichtblick/Achim Melde)

[UPDATED 2 June at 17.20] German lawmakers on Thursday (2 June) passed a resolution declaring the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces in 1915 and 1916 as a genocide.

Ankara has since recalled its ambassador from Berlin amid broader concerns over a strained migrant swap deal with the EU signed in March.

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Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, struck a conciliatory tone in the wake of the resolution.

At a news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Merkel said relations with Ankara, a member of the alliance, remain 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,” she said.

The five-page resolution called for a “commemoration of the genocide of Armenian and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916”.

Some 1.5 million Armenians are said to have died during the atrocities. Germany now joins France and Russia in recognising the killings as a genocide.

Written by the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Green party, the move had already sparked stern criticism from Turkey's government.

Merkel was not present at the assembly when the resolution was voted.

But Turkey's prime minister Binali Yıldırım, prior to the vote, said the ballot was a "test of friendship" between Ankara and Berlin.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's increasingly authoritarian president, also told Merkel ties with Germany would suffer if the resolution was passed.

Relations between the two were already strained after Erdogan requested the prosecution of comedian Jan Boehmermann for reciting a poem insulting Erdogan.

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