German lawmaker's draw Turkey's ire by recognizing Armenian 'genocide'

(Photo: World Council of Churches)

German lawmakers have declared the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a "genocide" in a symbolic resolution which could damage relations with Turkey while Berlin and its European partners engage in tackling the migrant crisis.

Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador from Berlin after the motion was approved, The Guardian reported June 2 after the motion was passed.

Turkey's prime minister had said such a motion would test relations between the two countries at a sensitive time.

Turkey rejects the idea that the killings of Christian Armenians during World War One amounted to a genocide and a spokesman for the ruling AK Party responded swiftly to the vote, saying it had "seriously damaged" relations, Reuters reported.

Only one lawmaker voted against and another abstained, as the parliament approved overwhelmingly by a show of hands the resolution titled "Remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in 1915 and 1916," Agence France-Presse reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned "the resolution adopted by the German parliament will seriously affect relations between Germany and Turkey."

The timing was bruising for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has backed a deal under which Turkey has agreed to stem the flow of refugees to Europe in return for cash, visa-free travel rights and accelerated talks on European Union membership.

The resolution which was initiated by the opposition Greens and was also backed by lawmakers in Merkel's conservative bloc and the Social Democrats with whom she shares power in the federal government.

"With one vote against and one abstention, this resolution has been passed by a remarkable majority of the German Bundestag," said Norbert Lammert, the president of the lower house of parliament.

The five-page paper was co-written by parliamentarians from the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Green party.

"We wish Germany would not allow such an irrational issue," Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told ruling party members, hours before the vote, Reuters news agency reported.

"It was an ordinary event that occurred during wartime conditions in 1915," he said at a news conference.

In April last year world political and church leaders including France's Francois Hollande, Russia's Vladimir Putin and the head of the World Council of Churches, Olav Fykse Tveit, in Yerevan marked 100 years since the start of the Armenian genocide.

Many countries recognize that some 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of Ottoman forces between 1915 and 1917.

Turkey, which became a nation following the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, does not recognize the killing the Armenian as genocide and says many Turks died in an Armenian uprising.

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