Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Germany after the German parliament passed a symbolic resolution that declares the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a ‘genocide,’ local media report.
In the build-up to the ballot, numerous Turkish politicians had warned that relations between the two countries would suffer if the motion was passed to recognize the mass killings during the First World War as genocide.
Turkish Prime Minister had said German lawmakers’ planned vote to recognize the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide, will test the “friendship” between Berlin and Ankara.
The resolution “will amount to a real test of the friendship” between the two nations, Binali Yildirim said on Thursday.
“Some nations that we consider friends, when they are experiencing trouble in domestic policy attempt to divert attention from it,” he said at a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“This resolution is an example of that.”
He stopped short of threatening Germany with political and economic retaliation, but added “3.5 million Turks live in Germany and actively contribute to the economy.”
Put forward by the ruling left-right coalition and the opposition Greens, the resolution entitled “Remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in 1915 and 1916” also carries the contentious word throughout the text.
The vote comes at a particularly awkward time as Germany and the European Union need Turkey to help stem a record influx of migrants even as tensions are rising between both sides over human rights and other issues.
Yerevan has long sought international recognition of the “genocide”, but Ankara rejects the use of the term to describe the World War I-era killings and argues that it was a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.