German lawmakers are to vote today on a motion to describe the World War l killings of Armenians Ottoman Turk forces as “genocide”.
The vote, which Chancellor Angela Merkel supports but stands to miss, follows similar steps pursued by other parliaments, including France and Canada.
On Wednesday (June 1) hundreds of Turks from Germany’s large Turkish community, held a protest in Berlin rejecting the accusation of genocide.
Turkey’s prime minister has also warned the vote could damage relations between the two countries.
Sefik Bahadir, a Professor of Economics who took part in the protest in Berlin said:
“These deputies, who know nothing, are to make a purely political decision that will burden generations… our children will have to grapple with this burden of genocide. It should more appropriately be decided by a tribunal, an internationally appointed tribunal should decide this.”
For Armenian Ilias Uyar who is a member of the “Anerkennung Jetzt” (Recognition Now) campaign, approval of the motion by the Bundestag is long over due but significant.
“The German empire and the Osman empire were war allies and that’s why today’s German government bears a certain responsibility for aiding and abetting this genocide by the Turkish empire. That’s why it’s so important that the genocide be recognised in Germany too.”
Historians estimate up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed around 1915. Turkey insists the death toll has been inflated, denies that the killings were genocide and contends those who died were victims of civil war and unrest.