BERLIN — The vast majority of Germans support their parliament’s recognition of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians as genocide and do not trust Turkey’s government, according to opinion polls commissioned by German media.
A survey for ARD television, Germany’s largest public broadcaster, showed that 74 percent of them agree with the term “genocide” to describe the massacres.
Reuters cited the findings of the poll shortly after the German parliament, the Bundestag, passed on Thursday a resolution that uses the politically sensitive word in reference to up to 1.5 million Armenians massacred during the First World War.
According to another survey cited by the “Der Spiegel” magazine, 91 percent of Germans do not regard Turkish President Recep Erdogan as a trustworthy partner of Germany, a 12 percent increase from April.
Erdogan and his government strongly condemned the Bundestag resolution after its overwhelming approval by lawmakers representing Germany’s leading political parties. Successive Turkish governments have maintained that the last rulers of the Ottoman Empire did not seek to exterminate its Armenian population.
Germany is home to an estimated 3.5 million Turks. Many of them also strongly oppose the genocide resolution, saying that it will have negative consequences for the already complicated German-Turkish relationship, according to “Der Spiegel.”
Gökay Sofuoglu, Chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, dismissed the resolution as “useless.” “Legally and historically the issue has not been sufficiently discussed. Experts on both the Armenian and Turkish sides will continue to prove that the other side is wrong,” Sofuoglu said.
“There are already angry protests in Turkey, but the atmosphere there tends to change quickly,” Yetvart Danzikyan, a Turkish-Armenian journalist, told the German paper “Die Tagezeitung.” “In my independent opinion, however, it is always good to speak openly about the truth.”
“The more German historical archives are examined and publicized, the harder it will become for the Turkish government to maintain its position of denying the genocide,” he said.
Danzikyan also said Germany could play a bigger role in establishing the historical truth and helping to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey. He suggested that German Chancellor Angela Merkel “contribute to the launch of an international mediation mission between Armenia and Turkey.”