Skip to main content

Turkey warns Germany over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Ankara says crucial bilateral ties are at risk over a vote on Thursday vote that could see Germany officially use contested term
Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, will vote on the controversial resolution on Thursday (AFP)

Turkey on Monday strongly warned the German parliament against adopting a resolution recognising the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide, saying it could have repercussions for bilateral ties.

The German lower house of parliament is set to vote on Thursday on the resolution over the two years of slaughter from 1915, at a crucial time for German-Turkish relations.

The resolution uses the highly controversial word "genocide" - which Turkey has long rejected - throughout its text.

"Germany is our friend and our ally, where many citizens of Turkish origin live," said deputy prime minister and government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus. "Germany must be careful concerning its relations with Turkey."

"I do not think that the German parliament will destroy this relationship for the sake of two or three politicians" who put the resolution before the Bundestag, he added.

The debate over the resolution also comes at a hugely sensitive time in Berlin-Ankara relations.

Turkish authorities are angry over the failure to grant citizens visa-free travel to the EU, while Germany says it is worried by the worsening rights situation in Turkey.

Germany and other EU members are also keen to keep intact a fragile deal that sees Turkey accept asylum seekers rejected from Europe and deported back to Turkey.

Turkish authorities have long lobbied Western allies not to recognise the killings as genocide and stepped up efforts last year on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed between 1915 and 1917 in a targeted campaign of genocide by top Ottoman officials to wipe out their people from Anatolia.

Modern Turkey insists comparable numbers of Armenians and Turks died in a collective tragedy when Armenians sided with invading Russian troops in World War I.