Turkey calls back ambassador after German parliament recognizes ‘Armenian genocide’

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Turkey has called back Turkish Ambassador to Berlin, after German lawmakers accepted with overwhelming majority a symbolic resolution that labels the killings of Armenians during 1915 and 1916 a “genocide” by Ottoman forces.

Speaking to the press after the recognition of “Armenian genocide,” Erdoğan said that the ambassador was called back so that they could meet and decide on their next move agaisnt Germany.

“This recognition will have serious effects on bilateral relations between Germany and Turkey. We will talk about what our next step must be. We will evaluate the text approved by German parliament and then give our final decision on the issue,” Erdoğan said.

The resolution entitled “Remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in 1915 and 1916,” which carries the contentious word throughout the text, was accepted by German lawmakers on Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş has said that the decision to recognise the Armenian killings in 1915 and 1916 as a genocide is declared null and void by Turkey.

“This issue must be resolved by historians and scientists, not by politicians or parliaments. We will give the necessary answer to them by all means possible,” Kurtulmuş said on his Twitter account.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said: “The way to close the dark pages of one’s own history is not to degrade others’ history with irresponsible and baseless parliamentary decisions.”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Öztürk Yılmaz also stated that they are deeply sorry and vehemently condemn the decision given by the German parliament. “The decision is null and void for us,” Öztürk said.

The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, also said: “Turkish nation has a clean, glorious and noble history whether the German government wants to admit it or not. The MHP condemns the twisted decision of German parliament and expects them to turn back from this serious mistake.”

The resolution accepted by the German lawmakers includes teaching “Armenian genocide” as part of the curriculum to children in schools and universities and encouraging Turkey also to accept the “genocide” in order to make peace with Armenians.

Turkey issued grave warnings that adopting the resolution would harm ties between the two countries. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had also phoned Merkel on Tuesday over the resolution, while Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım called the vote “absurd.”

Turkey, a majority of whose population is Muslim, accepts that many Christian Armenians died in clashes with Ottoman soldiers beginning in 1915, when Armenia was part of the empire ruled from İstanbul, but denies hundreds of thousands were killed and that this amounted to genocide.

Turkey and Armenia have a century-long conflict due to the events of 1915, which are highly disputed in both nations. Turks accept that many Armenians died in 1915 in Anatolia under the Ottoman Empire, but they deny that this number is as high as 1.5 million and instead have an official death toll of about 500,000. Turks say that the events do not constitute an act of genocide, a term that is used not only by Armenians world-wide but also Western politicians, officials, and many historians. Turks also say that many Turks and Kurds were killed by Armenian gang groups in 1915.

More than 20 nations, including France, Russia and Germany, have recognized the Armenian genocide so far.

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