The parliamentary vote was originally scheduled to take place a year ago to mark the centenary of the genocide, but due to concerns over the fallout with Turkey, Merkel’s allies postponed the move.
The news was greeted with delight by dozens of Armenian supporters who had gathered outside the parliament building carrying banners commemorating the genocide.
According to the Christian Democratic Union’ Albert Weiler, Germany had a “historical duty” to recognize the mass killings of Armenians. “Without this admission there cannot be forgiveness and reconciliation. Suffering does not know temporary boundaries. Genocide will never remain in the past. By recognizing the genocide, it will force the Turkish government to take a brave step and look into its own history,” he said.
Gregor Gysi, a politician from The Left Party who was critical of Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds who were doing an excellent job in fighting Islamic State, was quoted by RT in saying that that “Germany was a historical accessory” and has a duty to recognize the mass killings of Armenians in the First World War. “We need to call this what it was – a genocide,” he told the parliament. “The Bunderstag should not allow itself to be blackmailed by Turkey’s threats.”
Meanwhile, as expected Turkey responded in an angry fashion: the ruling AK Party in Turkey responded by saying that the decision taken by the German parliament has seriously damaged relations between the two countries. The Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus was equally scathing, calling the resolution a “historic mistake.”
In one last bid on Thursday to try and sway German opinion, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said it would be “irrational” for the German parliament to approve such a resolution, while it would test the friendship between the two countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already warned that relations between Ankara and Berlin would suffer if Germany was to recognize the mass killings of Armenians as genocide. Ankara had launched a high-profile campaign of intimidation in the build-up to the vote, which even included the Turkish community sending out thousands of emails to German MPs. However, some emails crossed a line, intimidating politicians and threatening the lives of journalists .
The German media is concerned about what impact the decision by the parliament to recognize the genocide could have on the migrant deal between Turkey and the EU, which has been championed by Merkel.
Many note that keeping Turkey friendly is necessary to stem the tide of migrants heading towards Europe. Some 1.1 million refugees settled in Germany last year. In return, Ankara will receive billions of euro from the EU, while its citizens would also be given visa free travel to the Schengen zone, which encompasses most of Europe.
For now, it remains to be seen if Turkey will unleash the millions of refugees held in its borders, although as TV24 reports, Turkey has already recalled its Ambassador to Germany,Huseyin Avni Karslioglu, back to Turkey. We expect an even more angry response by Erdogan in the hours to come, perhaps culminating with the voiding of the refugee agreement.
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