BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office hit back on June 6 at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a row over the German parliamentary vote declaring the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against Armenians a century ago.
Erdogan has condemned last week’s vote on the killing of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during the World War I, charging that the 11 German MPs with Turkish roots who backed it supported “terrorism” by the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), and demanding “blood tests” to see “what kind of Turks they are.”
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said that while Berlin also considers the PKK a terrorist group, “to associate individual members of parliament with terrorism is utterly incomprehensible to us”.
“The resolution was a political initiative that emerged from the midst of the Bundestag, which is a democratically elected, independent organ under our constitution,” Seibert told a regular press conference.
“The Bundestag reached a sovereign decision. That must be respected,” Seibert said, adding that this was the message Merkel had given to the Turkish president.
Erdogan, in a bitter reaction to the vote, singled out German Greens party co-leader Cem Özdemir, one of the instigators of the resolution passed on June 2.
Ozdemir has been placed under police protection after receiving anonymous death threats.
Erdogan also slammed Germany for approving the bill, saying his country would never accept the accusation that its forefathers committed genocide.
“Hey Germany, what do you want to do? What is your problem? First, say it. When I talked to her [German Chancellor Angela Merkel], do you know what she said to me three or four days before that incident? She said: ‘I will do my best.’ Is it your best not to attend the vote in parliament? If you had an honest manner here, you would attend. Well, a lady voted no, the second no would be your vote and I would applaud you,” Erdogan said, adding that they were neither honest nor sincere.