The German Armenian resolution: An affront to Ankara?

Article published on June 3, 2016
Article published on June 3, 2016

The German parliament on Thursday condemned the murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire around 100 years ago as a genocide, prompting angry protests from Turkey. Some commentators welcome the resolution, saying it was long overdue. Others see it as an affront to Ankara.

Don't deny genocide, face up to it - Pravda, Slovakia

Hysterical reactions on the part of the Turks are nothing new when the topic is the Armenian genocide, Pravda comments: "Denial is now part of the Turkish state doctrine. What's more, Ankara has disseminated worldwide its own revisionist image of what took place 101 years ago. That's just as absurd as if someone in Germany denied the Holocaust today. He'd run the risk of going to jail for spreading the Auschwitz lie. In Turkey it's the exact opposite. Comments about the Armenian genocide are punishable as 'insults to the Turkish nation'. ... However Turkey remains trapped in its past. The Germans have now joined the more than two dozen countries that have loudly denounced the crime. ... This issue must not be continually swept under the carpet. An effort must be made to deal with it. There is no other path to true reconciliation." (03/06/2016)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH)

A long overdue resolution - Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland

The German parliament's decision was the right one in the eyes of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung: "What drove the German parliamentarians to pass this long overdue resolution now after failing to do so in 2015 is a matter of debate. The desire to take a swipe at Präsident Erdoğan or even the German government, which has long been suspected of kowtowing to the Turkish leader, no doubt played a role. Yet it is a fitting gesture of the Bundestag to follow the examples of other national parliaments and, like France, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands, finally call the genocide by its name. It was also important to acknowledge Germany's share of the blame. To continue holding back would have been cowardly - and would have reaffirmed the accusation that Germany was susceptible to blackmail." (03/06/2016)

The right decision at the wrong time - La Stampa, Italy

The timing of the German parliament's resolution couldn't have been worse, Germany expert Gian Enrico Rusconi comments in La Stampa: "In connection with the refugee deal Ankara demanded not just the lifting of visa restrictions and the resumption of the accession talks, but also that there be no more interference in the country's 'internal affairs'. … Under domestic pressure and at the end of his tether, Erdoğan has threatened Brussels with breaking off the pact, meaning that the German parliament's resolution couldn't have come at a worse time. It's unclear who will pick up the thread now. I don't know whether Erdoğan will simply raise the stakes in the game with the EU or take advantage of the nation's injured pride to extend his autocratic power even further." (03/06/2016)

Row over resolution embarassing - Die Welt, Germany

The whole resolution row is a sorry spectacle, Die Welt concludes: "The SPD foreign minister fled to South America so he wouldn't have to be present for the vote. And the chancellor too is apparently considering hiding away at a natural science conference during the vote because of her refugee deal with Turkish President Erdoğan. This is embarrassing. But truly sad is the behaviour of certain Turkish associations in Germany. Some functionaries have been flooding the MPs with pamphlets, calls and in some cases even threats for days now. The fact that they are concentrating their efforts on MPs with a Turkish background says all that needs to be said about their false self-image: these MPs are not the exclusive representatives of a minority." (02/06/2016)

Nationalist ignorance rules in Turkey - T24, Turkey

Turkey's new Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (of the AKP) stated on Wednesday that the killings of 1915 were not genocide but ordinary events within the context of World War 1. Columnist Hasan Cemal voices outrage on the liberal news website T24: "The whole world has recognised the events of 1915 as genocide. This can't be denied. But even if you don't call it genocide you could at least express sympathy out of regard for the survivors. … Such feelings are not to be found in Prime Minister Yıldırım. He dares to call 1915 an ordinary event. … Is such lack of emotion a product of ignorance? Or is it a deliberate stance aimed at wooing nationalist votes? I don't care. The AKP leadership was not always like this. … However, a lot of time has passed since then. … Is this surprising? No, because an Islamist-nationalist alliance is forming." (02/06/2016)

Denmark must speak up too - Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark

Denmark should view the debate on the Armenian resolution in the German parliament as an example to be followed, Kristeligt Dagblad urges: "The Danish government is playing into the hands of Turkish revisionism by remaining silent when it should speak up. The main argument for not calling a genocide a genocide is that it could have a negative impact on relations with Turkey at a time when we need Turkey as an ally both militarily and in refugee policy. But there will always be pragmatic arguments for denying the past. In the long term it is democratically indefensible for politicians to take part in concealing the scope of this massacre. The Danish government wants to fight the persecution of Christians wherever it occurs. But if it lacks the courage to talk about the persecution that decimated the Christian population of the Ottoman Empire around 1900, that shows how empty this promise is." (01/06/2016)

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