German parlt condemns 1915 killings of Armenians
By Nick Antonovics

Reuters, UK
June 16 2005

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's parliament condemned on Thursday the
mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 90 years ago, sparking an
angry protest from Ankara.

Voting shortly after the government and opposition clashed over
whether Turkey should join the European Union, all main parties in
the Bundestag joined in deploring what many historians say amounted
to genocide.

The resolution stopped short of calling the killings genocide, a term
Turkey rejects, but it will test relations between Ankara and Berlin,
a staunch supporter of Turkish EU aspirations.

"This resolution is regrettable and we strongly condemn it," said
the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement.

It described the resolution as one-sided and "provocative" and said
it would hurt Turks' feelings. It said German lawmakers had been
motivated by domestic politics and had ignored repeated warnings of
the harm the resolution would do to bilateral ties.

Turkey denies the claims that 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a
systematic genocide between 1915 and 1923 as the multi-ethnic Ottoman
Empire collapsed.

It accepts hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed but says
even more Turks died in a partisan conflict in which many Armenians
backed invading Russian troops.


Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told German reporters this
week that the resolution amounted to "a huge injustice toward Turkey
and Turks living in Germany," the German newspaper Rheinische Post
reported on Thursday.

Teaching in German schools about the "destruction" of Armenians as
proposed by the resolution would create hostility against Turks among
German youth, the Turkish foreign ministry statement said.

Around 2 million Turks live in Germany. A Berlin police spokesman
said a demonstration was planned in front of the Armenian embassy in
Berlin on Saturday.

The resolution urged Turkey to set up an independent committee
of Turkish, Armenian and international historians to document what
happened and to hold a conference in Istanbul -- postponed last month
-- to examine the issue. The Turkish foreign ministry said Turkey
had opened its archives to historians and proposed establishment
of a joint commission between Turkey and Armenia to investigate
Turkish-Armenian relations during the Ottoman Empire.

The resolution also condemned the German government of the time for
failing to try to stop the killings despite having "information about
the organized expulsion and extermination of Armenians."

Germany was an ally of the Ottoman Empire during World War One,
when the massacres took place.

"The German parliament is well aware from its own experience how
hard it is for all peoples to deal with the dark side of their past,"
the resolution said in a reference to Germany's own Nazi regime and
its murder of millions of Jews.