Three political parties represented in the Turkish Parliament issued a joint declaration on Thursday to condemn German lawmakers for accepting with overwhelming majority a symbolic resolution that labels the killings of Armenians during 1915 and 1916 a “genocide” by Ottoman forces.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and opposition parties Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) signed the declaration, while the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not approve the declaration, claiming that making a political move without facing the realities of the ancient history of Turkey will not solve any problems.
“As the representatives of noble Turkish nation, we do not accept and strongly condemn the decision given by the German Parliament that is based on groundless claims regarding the deportation incident taking place during Ottoman era, 1915,” the statement said.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, spoke to the press before visiting Azerbaijan as a PM for the first time on Friday, saying that three political parties in Parliament jointly reacted against the decision very clearly.
“Germany and Turkey are very important allies. No one should expect our relationship to suddenly end due to the parliament’s decision. However, that does not mean we will remain unresponsive and not speak out,” Yıldırım added.
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.
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.