Turkey recalls envoy after German resolution on Armenian 'genocide'

Turkey recalls envoy after German resolution on Armenian 'genocide'
2 min read
03 June, 2016
A Turkey on Thursday recalled its ambassador from Berlin following a German parliamentary resolution that described the World War I era massacre of Armenians as genocide.
Turkey is furious at the German parliament's resolution and has threatened further action [AFP]

Turkey recalled its envoy to Berlin on Thursday and threatened further measures after Germany's parliament labelled the World War I massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide.

The German parliament's lower house overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on the 1915-1916 killings, in a move touching a notoriously raw nerve in Turkish-European relations.

Only one MP voted against the resolution and another abstained.

The use of the word "genocide" goes to the heart of a long-running battle for world opinion between Armenia and Turkey.

Armenia has led a decades-long campaign to have the bloodshed characterised as genocide, while Turkey argues that the term is a gross injustice - it argues that the killings were a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.

Turkey reacted with fury, recalling its ambassador to Germany for consultations and summoning Berlin's charge d'affaires to a meeting at the foreign ministry in Ankara.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the motion would "seriously affect" ties while Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag pointed to Germany's own record in history.

"First you burn the Jews in ovens and then you come and accuse the Turkish people of genocide. Look back first at your own history... in our history, there is nothing that we can be ashamed of," Bozdag said.

Amid the brewing diplomatic storm, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for calm.

"As expected, Turkey has reacted, and I hope that we will succeed in the next days and weeks to avoid any overreaction," he told journalists during a visit to Buenos Aires.

More than 20 nations, including France and Russia, have already recognised the massacre as a genocide.

But Thursday's vote comes at a particularly awkward time.

Germany and the European Union are relying on Turkey to help stem a record influx of migrants even as tensions are rising between both sides over human rights and other issues.

Agencies contributed to this report.