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Erdogan and Europe
German Parliament Votes to Recognize Armenian Genocide

In a move that’s been more or less promised to send shockwaves through the German-Turkish relationship, the German Bundestag (parliament) voted on Thursday to recognize the killing of over 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks from 1915 onward as a genocide. Deutsche Welle reports:

Germany’s Bundestag passed a resolution qualifying the Ottoman era Armenian killings as ‘genocide’. The lower house of parliament voted almost unanimously, with one vote against the motion and one abstention. House speaker Norbert Lammert spoke of a “remarkable majority.”

Remembrance of genocide is particularly potent as a political issue in Germany, where for obvious historical reasons it’s considered a national duty; several Members of the Bundestag noted that as Germany was allied with the Ottoman Empire at the time of the massacres, it bore some indirect responsibility. Nevertheless, the impetus for taking this particular motion up at this particular time seems more modern than historical. As our own Damir Marusic wrote last week:

The genocide resolution certainly won’t sit well with Ankara—and that appears to be precisely its point. German leaders had considered voting on a similar resolution last year, but had backed down in order to try to keep their options open with Turkey. Merkel’s domestic antagonists are now clearly looking to upset the applecart after their Chancellor has repeatedly failed to stand up to an increasingly colicky Erdogan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government made its displeasure with the motion clear beforehand, and vowed their would be consequences. (Turkey still denies the killings constituted a genocide.)

Merkel and other leaders tried to dodge the issue, while having it both ways (DW):

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the leader of the Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, failed to attend the vote on account of other appointments. Critics have said, however, that they deliberately attempted to dodge a difficult vote. Chancellor Merkel did, however, announce after the passing of the resolution that the Bundestag decision to designate the Ottoman killings of Christian Armenians as genocide did not detract from Germany’s “amicable and strategic” relationship with Turkey.

But Ankara ain’t buying it. The Daily Hurriyet reports:

The Turkish government has described the Bundestag’s approval of the Armenian genocide bill “null and void.”

“The fact that the German Parliament approved distorted and baseless claims as genocide is a historic mistake. The German Parliament’s approval of this bill is not a decision in line with friendly relations between Turkey and Germany. This decision is null and void for Turkey,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said.[..]

Meanwhile, Turkish Ambassador to Berlin Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu has been recalled toAnkara for consultations over the decision.[..]

“This decision that the German Parliament has taken is actually a decision that will seriously affect Germany-Turkey relations. We will make evaluations after returning [to Turkey] about steps to be taken. Then we will take the necessary steps that we have to take,” Erdoğan told reporters in Kenya.

Prime Minister Binalı Yıldırım said Ankara could “not accept” such a decision.

Germany and Turkey may be heading for a split—one that will be loud and ugly. On the one hand, you have Erdogan’s increased megalomania: This is a man who’s filed lawsuits and protests all over Europe over semi-obscure comedians and artists saying mean things about him. On the other, you have a growing backlash in Germany against being asked to swallow abuse from an aspiring authoritarian as the price of a deal that touches on an issue (the refugees) where citizens are increasingly unhappy with their government to begin with. And then, as we wrote yesterday, the Turkish-EU deal appears to be failing: it was one thing for the German government to put up with abuse from Erdogan and poll drops at home when it seemed like the deal, however dirty, was solving their biggest domestic problem. And it’s quite another if it isn’t.

The incentives (money on one hand, a hope at stopping immigration on the other) in theory remain strong for each side to stick to the deal. But given how emotional things have become, we wouldn’t be surprised if this leads to a serious rupture.

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  • Beauceron

    It’s very curious.

    Germany has not been one to show much spine when dealing with Turkey, and I find it difficult to believe they’re starting to now, despite what all the pundits are saying about it.

    I half-wonder if the German elite see this as a way of getting a few million more new citizens to culturally enrich their countrymen– because that is going to be the likely, and entirely predictable, result of this action.

    • Jim__L

      They’re just like the old international aristocracy — they don’t care whom they rule (as they ignore them anyway), they just want to rule.

  • WigWag

    Was the Armenian massacre a genocide? Of course it was. Does it do Germany or anyone else any good to label it a genocide more than a century after the fact? Of course it doesn’t.

    Germany is literally falling apart at the seams. The native German population is plunging. It’s largest manufacturers are losing their edge and engaging in fraud to cover their failures up. It’s energy policy is making the entire country uncompetitive. It’s destroying itself and the rest of Western Europe with its immigration policies.

    Is this really the time that the German Government should be focusing on genocide resolutions?

    It seems to me that Germany has far bigger fish to fry.

    • Beauceron

      “Germany is literally falling apart at the seams”

      I don’t know where you’re from, but it’s hard to name a Western country that isn’t falling apart. It’s not that I disagree with you– I do agree. It’s just that I look around the US, and I don’t see a path that doesn’t lead us to a rather bleak, divisive, nasty future.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Normally I find myself in agreement with you….in this particular case let me offer a respectful dissent.
      You are absolutely correct that Germany has much bigger issues facing it than the question of a century-old genocide, and that it is doing little or nothing about this more pressing problems. With that said, it does strike me that pushing against the standard PC narrative of refusing to name things properly is in fact a worthwhile (albeit minor) exercise. We call illegal aliens ‘undocumented immigrants’ and see nothing wrong with degrading the language. If the Germans are willing to push back, even a little, against the forces trying to rebuild history for their own convenience, I would say that is something we should applaud.
      But yes…they are pathetic.

    • Kneave Riggall

      You’re in error. This is the first step toward Germany’s recovery. Deals with Erdogan shows how weak Germany has become: The nation that conquered France four times in the last two centuries now has to bend its knee before a pipsqueak like Erdogan or he will “loose the hounds” on Europe. If, instead, Germany gives the back of its hand to Erdogan, barricades its borders, and sends the recent “immigrants” home, then there will a German tomorrow.

  • Pete

    Given the muslim invasion of Europe and Germany in particular, the Germans should have let this sleeping dog lie for the time being.

  • Orhan Tan

    Bundestag violated the international law. See UN Convention Art. 6. Its decision is unvalid. Resolution calls Turkey to face its history. The members of Bundestag are not aware of that Turkish Government proposed Armenia to jointly organize an international historians and law scholars to study on all available archives to declare what really happened before, during and after 1915. But Armenia does not accept that proposal and continues to deceive the world public opinion .

    • Alex

      Your mom violated international law when she had you. See UN Convention Art. 45B section 7 bulletpoint 52. It calls for no waste of oxygen.

  • What we need is dialogue, not polarization.

    Why would Germany ignore the Khodjaly Genocide committed by Armenians in Karabagh in 1992, devastation of which is still unfolding in front of our eyes today, before reaching deep into the obscure depths of history? Or the Holodomor in Ukraine in the more recent past? If Germany wanted to reach back 100+ years for whatever reasons, why would then they ignore Herero Genocide committed by the Germans in Southwest Africa (Namibia today) in 1904-1907? You see, the German resolution is not about history at all.

    And it is not about compassion, either, as the German politicians would have to first pass a resolution condemning the shameful and brutal treatment, as you read these lines, of Syrian refugees at their doorstep. Or the burning alive of Turks in Solingen and up and down Germany by the German Nazis.

    German politicians seem so obsessed with “their version”of history that they cannot see why we, the Turks around the world, are so incensed by the German (and Armenian) efforts to include teaching of an alleged genocide as settled history in the state education curriculum. Turkish pain is excluded in that narrative. Armenian complicity, Armenian terrorism, insurgency, territorial demands and treason are all ignored in the Armenian narrative. Teaching only half the story, an exaggerated and distorted half at that, would be akin to teaching children Nazi propaganda as settled history.

    Turks believe it was an inter communal warfare mostly fought by Turkish and Armenian irregulars, a civil war which is engineered, provoked, and waged by the Armenian revolutionaries, with active support from Russia, England, France, and others, all eyeing the vast territories of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, against a backdrop of a raging world war. Armenians, on the other hand, totally ignoring Armenian agitation, raids, rebellions, treason, territorial demands, and Turkish victims killed by Armenians, unfairly claim that it was genocide. While some in unsuspecting public may be forgiven for taking the blatant and ceaseless Armenian propaganda at face value and believing Armenian falsifications merely because they are repeated so often, it is difficult and painful for someone like me, the son of Turkish survivors on both maternal and paternal sides.

    History is a matter of scholarship, not conviction, consensus, or political resolutions. What we need are more research, peer review, and reasoned debate. Even historians, by definition, cannot decide on a genocide verdict, which is reserved for a “competent court” with its legal expertise and due process. The highest court in Europe, the European Court of Human rights, decided (October 15, 2015, Perincek vs Switzerland) that Armenian Genocide is an opinion, a claim, a belief, but NOT a court-proven, irrefutable fact like the Jewish Holocaust committed by the German Nazis. ECHR added that disputing Armenian claims of genocide is within one’s right to freedom of expression and, therefore, cannot be labeled hate speech or genocide denying.

    Genocide allegations have no historical evidence, either, that could “withstand the scrutiny” of a competent tribunal, as stipulated by the 1948 UN Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Which is why “intent to destroy” was never proven to this very day, beyond forgeries, fabrications, exaggerations, and hearsay.

    German politicians, thus, have destroyed chances of dialogue by their racist and dishonest resolution.

    • Alex

      2 different accounts for the express purpose of writing walls of text for the worst kind of cause on the planet. You are pathetic.
      Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Russians, The Balkans, Arabs, Persians and now the Kurds finally. You’re descendant from the scum of the earth, deal with that reality.

      • Ergun Kirlikovali

        Note how the people of the other sude of the story is conveniently left out in the racist remark. This is what I mean by racist and dishonest history as the basis of a bogus genocide and fanatic Armenusn terrorists. We need a civilized dialogue where racusm and fanaticism have no place.

        • Alex

          You are Talaat, you are Goebbels. You don’t deserve life, let alone civilized dialogue.

          • Is this your death threat on my life? FBI, are you reading this terrorist’s messages?

          • Alex

            If I wanted you dead, you’d be dead already. You have a weird obsession with martyrdom you know that? It’s almost like you want someone to kill you out of hatred, just so your own beliefs will be justified. What I meant is that if you were to choke on a piece of kebab or something, that would be swell. I just like messing with you. Just the thought of you shaking in anger, with your raisin sized eyes about to pop out of your face, brings me joy.

          • Ergun Kirlikovali

            Are you proud of your racist hate speech? If you are so brave, why don’t you reveal your name, like I do? You shameless coward… piece of worthless shit!

          • Alex

            And what exactly has revealing your name done for you Ergun? Have you ever been assaulted like you’d hoped? No. It has however let me see you get mocked in a U.S. court in the 80s. See you yell at some college kids at a campus and get whisked away by campus security like a crazy person. Share some stupid video of what looks like a crab dance with a sword that you called ‘elegant’. You’re an angry poindexter with a face to match. It’s hilarious that you think you’re being brave, but really you’re just making it easy for people to laugh at you.

    • Alex

      Any thoughts on the coup attempt Ergun?

  • Orhan Tan

    Comment from Mr. S. S Aya – Researcher & Writer
    (European Court of Justice Order of the Court of First Instance (First Chamber) of 17 December 2003. Reef.62003TO0346 Par. 19 reads:

    Two questions to Bundestag NONESENSE:
    1-Is Germany committed by agreement to the EU Court of Justice, Den Haag? If yes, why you disrespect?
    2- reads
    Now that you have “decided on genocide” (without any authority) will you please declare:
    A- Who is the “criminal in person”?
    B- What Court took this decision, when, where, how, with what legal procedures?
    C- What is the “punishment” you decided? How can it be performed and by whom?
    SOME ADVICE: Read: )

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