Armenia urges Germany to reject Turkish threats against genocide vote

Published June 1st, 2016 - 11:06 GMT
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan delivers a speech. (AFP/File)
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan delivers a speech. (AFP/File)

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan called Wednesday on German lawmakers to ignore Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan's demand that they reject a parliamentary resolution declaring the Ottoman Empire's massacres a century ago of Armenians as genocide.

"It's not fair that you cannot call the genocide of the Armenians genocide just because the head of state of another country is angry about it," Sargsyan told the German daily Bild.

Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, is to vote Thursday on the resolution, which has been backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative-led coalition parties and the opposition.

More than 20 nations have so far recognized the massacres during the First World War as genocide. This includes Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands.

Most historians believe that up to 1.5 million Armenians died in systematic killings and deportations by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and 1916.

But Turkey, the Ottoman successor state, argues that Armenians, Turks and people of other nationalities were victims of a civil war.

Newly elected Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the resulotion "laughable" and "plucked out of thin air" in comments carried by state news agency Anadolu.

"Those incidents were the norm under the conditions of World War I in 1915, and could have happened in any society and in any country," Yildirim was quoted as saying.

The premier added that a vote in Berlin to pass the resolution "would of course damage our relations with Germany, without a doubt. And we do not want them to be damaged."

Speaking on Tuesday after a phone call with Merkel, Erdogan warned of the potential economic, political, military and diplomatic damage to Ankara's relations with Berlin if the resolution is adopted by the Bundestag.Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan called Wednesday on German lawmakers to ignore Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan's demand that they reject a parliamentary resolution declaring the Ottoman Empire's massacres a century ago of Armenians as genocide.

"It's not fair that you cannot call the genocide of the Armenians genocide just because the head of state of another country is angry about it," Sargsyan told the German daily Bild.

Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, is to vote Thursday on the resolution, which has been backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative-led coalition parties and the opposition.

More than 20 nations have so far recognized the massacres during the First World War as genocide. This includes Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands.

Most historians believe that up to 1.5 million Armenians died in systematic killings and deportations by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and 1916.

But Turkey, the Ottoman successor state, argues that Armenians, Turks and people of other nationalities were victims of a civil war.

Newly elected Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the resulotion "laughable" and "plucked out of thin air" in comments carried by state news agency Anadolu.

"Those incidents were the norm under the conditions of World War I in 1915, and could have happened in any society and in any country," Yildirim was quoted as saying.

The premier added that a vote in Berlin to pass the resolution "would of course damage our relations with Germany, without a doubt. And we do not want them to be damaged."

Speaking on Tuesday after a phone call with Merkel, Erdogan warned of the potential economic, political, military and diplomatic damage to Ankara's relations with Berlin if the resolution is adopted by the Bundestag.

By Thomas Koerbel and Awet Demurjan


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