German lawmakers call massacre of Armenians ‘genocide’, defying Turkey

A participant holds a candle and a sign during a memorial march by armenians in front of the Brandenburg Gate after an Ecumenical service marking the 100th anniversary of the mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces, at the cathedral in Berlin April 24, 2015 REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH

(Reuters) – The German parliament overwhelmingly approved on Friday a resolution branding the mass killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a century ago as “genocide”, risking a diplomatic rupture with Ankara.

The vote marks a significant change of stance for Germany, Turkey’s biggest trade partner in the European Union and home to a large ethnic Turkish diaspora. Unlike France and some two dozen other countries, Berlin has long resisted using the word.

The term ‘genocide’ also has special resonance in Germany, which has worked hard to come to terms with its responsibility for the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

In a parliamentary session to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the killings, all parliamentary groups in the Bundestag lower house backed the resolution in a vote likely to infuriate Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan…

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