German Recognition of Armenian Genocide Puts EU-Turkey Deal at Risk

GERMANY

The Turkish government is outraged after German lawmakers voted for the recognition of the Armenian genocide. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the vote would influence relations between the two nations, whereas Turkey has already recalled its ambassador from Berlin following the vote of the 630-member Budestag on Thursday. No sooner did the vote end that the Turkish leadership expressed outrage and there are fears that the EU-Turkey agreement to stem the flow of refugees to Europe could be put at risk.

Turkey has denounced the German decision as “null and void.” Turkey’s new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that there is no “shameful incident” in Turkey’s past to make the country bow its head.

Erdogan spoke to reporters while on his trip to Kenya. He said that the vote “could seriously impact German-Turkish relations” and said that measures that can be taken will be discussed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had voted for the resolution on Tuesday, but was absent from the actual vote on Thursday. During her visit to Istanbul last week, Erdogan had warned her not to follow through on the resolution, putting her in a tough spot. Merkel had telephone contact with Erdogan on Tuesday after the resolution was passed in order to preserve the EU’s refugee accord with Turkey. The EU agreement with Turkey is crucial to stemming the flow of migration from Greece and other European countries.

Merkel told reporters on Tuesday that German-Turkish ties are broad enough, including on security matters, that they can withstand “a difference of opinion on a particular question.” Nonetheless, the Armenian genocide is a touchy topic in Turkey.

The resolution that German MPs voted on calls for the “commemoration of the genocide of Armenian and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916.” All German parties supported the motion that is in line with similar recognition with countries such as France, Russia, Greece, Sweden and the Netherlands.