The German parliament decided in a near unanimous vote to declare the deaths of Armenians during the First World War a genocide. With the decision they join 20 other nations and the pope in recognizing the killings of 1915.
The Armenians believe that 1.5 million of their people died at the hands of the Ottoman-Turks. Modern day Turkey has continuously denied that any genocide ever took place, instead they maintain that closer to 300,000 Armenians died during ethnic fighting and deportation that took place between 1915 and 1917.
In response to the decision Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany, with President Erdogan promising to pursue further action against the resolution. The foreign minister for Turkey has accused Germany of using the decision to deflect from its own dark history.
However, many members of the German parliament gave speeches during the vote which highlighted Germany’s own guilt. Germany was a military ally of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War and is believed to have known that the Armenian genocide was taking place but not doing anything to stop it.
German Chancellor Merkel said in response to the resolution that, despite having differences in opinion, Turkey and Germany will maintain strong ties. President Erdogan had a different response, believing that the decision will have serious consequences on the two nations relations.
The two countries relationships has been strained recently and many are concerned what effect Germany’s decision to recognize the Armenian Genocide will have on the recent migrant deal between the EU and Turkey.