Germany Rejects Turkish Threats, Affirms Armenian Genocide
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) welcomes today’s near unanimous vote in the Bundestag, Germany’s National Parliament, affirming the Armenian Genocide. The resolution titled “Remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916” was overwhelmingly approved despite threats emanating from Turkey. Prior to the vote, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan warned that bilateral diplomatic, economic, trade, political, and military ties between Germany and Turkey will be damaged.
In addition, Members of the German Parliament and journalists writing about the resolution have been receiving threats such as: “You will be eliminated,” or “Your end will be like that of Hrant Dink,” who was a Turkish-Armenian journalist murdered in broad daylight in January 2007 for speaking the truth.
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member and president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert condemned what he described as threats, including death threats against German parliamentary deputies of Turkish origin if they voted for the resolution. “We will not be intimidated,” he said.
Lammert spoke eloquently about the Armenian Genocide on the occasion of the centennial. “What happened in the midst of the First World War in the Ottoman Empire, before the eyes of the world, was a genocide,“ Lammert said. “We Germans are in no position to lecture anyone about how they should deal with their past. Yet due to our own experiences, we can encourage others to face their history, even when it is painful: self-critical commitment to the truth is essential for reconciliation.”
In an unofficial translation, the resolution text includes that: “The Bundestag regrets the inglorious role of the German Reich, which as military ally of the Ottoman Empire did nothing to stop these crimes against humanity despite receiving clear information from German missionaries and diplomats about the organized deportation and annihilation of Armenians. This commemoration by the German Bundestag also serves as an expression of particular respect for the oldest Christian nation on earth.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks should be acknowledged as genocide. Through her spokeswoman, Christiane Wirtz, Merkel told journalists yesterday morning that she “sided with her parliamentary group” in favor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
Noting that there is never a good time to speak about something so heinous as genocide, Green party co-chairman, Cem Ozedmir (a German of Turkish origin) read statements by German officials from 1915 showing that they knew that up to 90 percent of deported Armenians had been killed. The resolution states that the fate of the Armenians “exemplifies the history of mass exterminations, ethnic cleansing, forced migrations, the genocides that have atrociously scarred the 20th century.”
“The vote by the German parliament follows other European countries in acknowledging this painful chapter in history as well as the resolutions adopted by the European Parliament conditioning Turkey’s EU admission to coming to terms with its genocidal past,” stated Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “The Assembly applauds the Bundestag’s principled stand, especially as Turkey continues to blockade Armenia – the last closed border in Europe – refuses to normalize relations with Armenia and unconditionally supported Azerbaijan’s recent attempt to once again wipe Armenians off the map in Nagorno Karabakh,“ Ardouny continued.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501©(3) tax-exempt membership organization.