Turkey condemns German parties on Armenia

Expatica, Netherlands
Feb 28 2005

28 February 2005

BERLIN - Turkey's ambassador to Germany, Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik, has
angrily denounced a parliamentary resolution by the German
conservative opposition on the alleged mass expulsion and murder of
Armenians by Ottoman Turks 90 years ago.

In a statement, the ambassador accused the opposition Christian
Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) of having made
itself into a "spokesman for fanatical Armenian nationalism".

He called the resolution, put forth by the CDU/CSU faction in the
German parliament on 22 February, a one-sided portrayal and said the
matter should be left to the historians.

"We would hope that our

friends in the Union parties, through their clumsy slander of Turkish
history, are not aiming to insult in particular our citizens living
here and in this manner to damage the manifold relations between
Turkey and Germany," he said.

The CDU/CSU resolution was put forward to mark the upcoming 90th
anniversary of the events in the former Turkish Ottoman Empire
involving the Turks' treatment of the ethnic Armenian minority.

In the resolution, the CDU said that on 24 April 1915, the order was
given by the Ottoman Turks to arrest and deport the Armenian cultural
and political elites, leading to the murder of most of them. It said
1.2 to 1.5 million Armenians were victims.

The resolution said that to this day, Turkey as the legal successor
to the Ottoman empire is still denying that the events were planned
and massacres carried out.

"This position of rejection stands in contradiction to the idea of
reconciliation which guides the community of values in the European
Union which Turkey wants to join," the CDU/CSU resolution said.

In his statement, Irtemcelik said the CDU/CSU needed to explain why
it has waited so long, including the period when it was in power in
Germany to put such a sensitive topic on the agenda. The CDU/CSU was
in power in Bonn and then Berlin between 1982 and 1998.

He said the Union parties in the past had always opposed initiatives
which had sought to instrumentalise the German parliament.

Over two million Turks live in Germany, making up by far the largest
foreign ethnic group in the country.

In January, the eastern German state of Brandenburg, bowing to
diplomatic pressure from Turkey, struck the subject of the Turkish
genocide against Armenians from its classroom curriculum.

But then this move was partially rescinded, after pressure by
Armenian representatives, so that the genocide against Armenians is
taught in the classroom as being one of several examples of genocide
in the 20th Century.

DPA