(dpa) – Turkey’s ambassador to Germany, Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik, on Sunday angrily denounced a parliamentary resolution by the German conservative opposition on the mass expulsion and murder of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 90 years ago.
In a statement published Sunday, the ambassador accused the opposition Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) of having made itself into a “spokesman for fanatical Armenian nationalism”. He called the resolution, put forth by the CDU/CSU faction in the German parliament on February 22, a one-sided portrayal and said the matter should be left to the historians.
“We would hope that our friends in the Union parties, through their clumsy slander of Turkish history, are not aiming to insult in particular our citizens living here and in this manner to damage the manifold relations between Turkey and Germany,” he said.
The CDU/CSU resolution was put forward to mark the upcoming 90th anniversary of the events in the former Turkish Ottoman Empire involving the Turks’ treatment of the ethnic Armenian minority. In the resolution, the CDU said that on April 24, 1915, the order was given by the Ottoman Turks to arrest and deport the Armenian cultural and political elites, leading to the murder of most of them. It said 1.2 to 1.5 million Armenians were victims. The resolution said that to this day, Turkey as the legal successor to the Ottoman empire is still denying that the events were planned and massacres carried out.
“This position of rejection stands in contradiction to the idea of reconciliation which guides the community of values in the European Union which Turkey wants to join,” the CDU/CSU resolution said.
In his statement Sunday, Irtemcelik said the CDU/CSU needed to explain why it has waited so long, including the period when it was in power in Germany to put such a sensitive topic on the agenda. The CDU/CSU was in power in Bonn and then Berlin between 1982 and 1998. He said the Union parties in the past had always opposed initiatives which had sought to instrumentalise the German parliament.
Over two million Turks live in Germany, making up by far the largest foreign ethnic group in the country.
In January, the eastern German state of Brandenburg, bowing to diplomatic pressure from Turkey, struck the subject of the Turkish genocide against Armenians from its classroom curriculum. But then this move was partially rescinded, after pressure by Armenian representatives, so that the genocide against Armenians is taught in the classroom as being one of several examples of genocide in the 20th Century.