Germany angers Turkey with massacre resolution

16th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 June 2005, BERLIN - Straining relations with Turkey, the German Bundestag parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday condemning the massacre of up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 90 years ago.

16 June 2005

BERLIN - Straining relations with Turkey, the German Bundestag parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday condemning the massacre of up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 90 years ago.

The resolution criticised the current government of Turkey for "neglecting to address the issue" in a forthright manner.

Turkey's foreign minister Abdullah Gul denounced the resolution as "irresponsible, appalling and injurious" to relations between the two countries.

"We note this decision with regret and we strongly condemn it," said a statement released by the foreign ministry. The statement accused the resolution of being rooted in "domestic politics" and called it "irresponsible and narrow-minded".

Turkey acknowledges the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of deaths in "civil strife" during 1915-17 but denies there was a state- sponsored extermination plan - a stance that has complicated its efforts to join the European Union. Accession talks are due to start later this year.

On 24 April 1915, the Ottoman Turkish government arrested hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, most of whom were quickly executed.

This was followed by the mass relocation of Christian Armenians from Anatolia through desert to Mesopotamia and what is today Syria.

Starvation, disease, attacks by bandits and the brutality of the escorting troops resulted in mass fatalities. Most Western sources maintain that more than a million deaths took place.

The incident has been widely referred to as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Turkey said Thursday's resolution is not historically correct, saying claims that "almost all Armenians living in Anatolia were exterminated" have "no basis".

DPA

Subject: German news

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