German opposition submits motion urging Turkey to examine killings of Armenians
Feb 27, 2005
Germany’s conservative opposition has submitted a parliamentary motion
calling for Turkey to examine its role in the killing of Armenians
nearly a century ago, a senior lawmaker said Sunday, drawing criticism
from Ankara’s ambassador in Berlin.
The motion urges the German government to push for Turkey to “look
without reservations at its role toward the Armenian people in the
past and present” and to “champion freedom of opinion in Turkey,
particularly concerning the massacre of Armenians.”
Friedbert Pflueger, a foreign policy spokesman for the opposition
Christian Democrats, said lawmakers deliberately avoided the term
“genocide” and, rather than attacking Turkey, wanted to ensure that it
“faces its history openly.” No date has been set for any vote.
Armenia accuses Turkey of genocide in the killings of up to 1.5 million
Armenians as part of a 1915-23 campaign to force them out of eastern
Turkey. At that time, Armenia was part of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey remains extremely sensitive to the issue. It denies that the
killings were genocide, says the death count is inflated and that
Armenians were killed or displaced along with others as the Ottoman
Empire tried to quell civil unrest.
Armenia and Turkey do not have diplomatic relations. The German
opposition motion calls for Ankara to normalize ties “immediately.”
Turkey’s ambassador to Germany, Ali Irtemcelik, said the motion
contained “prejudices, factual errors, significant shortcomings of
information and one-sided expectations.”
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s government has been one of Turkey’s
strongest backers in its bid eventually to join the European Union,
but the opposition has argued that it should be offered a “privileged
partnership” rather than full membership.