Germany Genocide Vote Infuriates Turkey
Yanking ambassador is just the first step, Erdogan says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 3, 2016 1:44 AM CDT
Protesters wave flags of Turkey and Germany in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin earlier this week.   (Michael Sohn)
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(Newser) – The German Parliament overwhelmingly voted Thursday to label the killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide, prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador to Germany. The motion passed with support from all the parties in Parliament, with one abstention and one vote against. The vote heightened tensions between Germany and Turkey at a time when Ankara is playing a key role in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe, the AP reports. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that "this decision will seriously impact Turkish-German relations." Erdogan said recalling the ambassador for consultations was a "first step" and the Turkish government will consider further steps to be taken in response to the vote.

The motion stresses that Germany is aware of the "uniqueness" of the Nazi Holocaust and it "regrets the inglorious role" of Germany, the Ottoman Turks' main military ally at the time of the Armenians' killings, of failing to stop the "crime against humanity." It also urges the German government to "encourage" Turkey to "deal openly with the expulsions and massacres" in order to "lay the necessary foundation stone for a reconciliation with the Armenian people." Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the German decision a "historic error," saying Turkish people take pride in in their past and "there is no event in our past that would cause us to bow down our heads in embarrassment." Armenia's president and foreign minister welcomed the vote. (There was a similar reaction from Turkey when Pope Francis called the killings a genocide last year.)