Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted strongly to the resolution passed by German Parliament recognizing the massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as Genocide. ‘This resolution has no value and will not change Turkey’s position on the matter. Charges that the Ottoman Empire committed Genocide against the Armenians are being used as “blackmail” against Turkey. Ankara will “never” accept such accusations’. Erdogan threatened that if Europe refuses to hold amicable discussions, then Turkey will not help Europe to resolve their issues.
On Thursday, the German parliament voted to label the 1915 killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War 1 as ‘Genocide’. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Berlin after the vote – a decision the Turkish President said would “seriously affect” relations between the two countries.
“The Armenian issue is a useful blackmail opportunity against Turkey all around the world and it is even starting to be used as a stick,” President Erdogan said in a televised speech.
“I am addressing the whole world. You may like it, you may not. Our attitude on the Armenian issue is clear from the beginning. We will never accept the accusations of Genocide.”
The President targeted Germany, adding “Germany has no right to comment on Genocide, given its own history during World War II and in Namibia. The countries that are blackmailing us with these Armenian genocide resolutions have the blood of millions of innocents on their hands”
“Either we find solutions to our problems in a fair manner, or Turkey will stop being a barrier to the problems being faced by Europe. We will leave you to your own worries”, President said, targeting Europe.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people died in the atrocities of 1915. Turkey says the toll was much lower and rejects the term “Genocide”.
Twenty governments, including those of France, Italy and Russia, have in the past described the mass killings of Armenians as a Genocide, and Pope Francis referred to the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century” in 2015. The German president, Joachim Gauck, also used the phrase in a speech in April last year.
Per agreement with the European Union, Turkey is at the vantage to receive facilities like ‘Visa free travel’ and so on. However, Europe has been raising issues with Turkey of not abiding by the rules and obstructed Turkey from availing all the benefits. Distressed, Turkey has warned of contravening the agreement. Erdogan’s recent speech seems to be part of the plan.