Turkey: German vote on Armenia killings may harm ties - InfoNews

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Turkey: German vote on Armenia killings may harm ties

Turkey's new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addresses onlookers during celebrations marking the 563rd anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, now Istanbul, in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, May 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
June 01, 2016 - 11:18 AM

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's relations with Germany will be harmed if the parliament in Berlin votes to describe the World War I-era killings of Armenians as genocide, the Turkish prime minister said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, however, that Turkey wouldn't nix a key deal with the European Union on curbing the flow of migrants to Europe over the genocide issue.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event viewed by many scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Turkey denies that the killings that started in 1915 were genocide and contends that those who died were victims of civil war and unrest. Turkey also insists the death toll has been inflated.

Germany's parliament plans to hold a vote Thursday on a motion describing the deaths as genocide.

"Of course relations with Germany will be harmed, there is no doubt about it," Yildirim said.

"Turkey is not a country that engages in blackmail, threats, and makes counter-plans," Yildirim added in response to a question on how the German resolution would affect the Turkey-EU migrants deal. "There can be no question of disregarding deals if this resolution is passed."

The prime minister, who took office last week, also called the vote in German parliament "nonsense" and said the deaths were "ordinary" events that took place amid a war.

"The events were one of (those) ordinary events that can take place in any community, in any country, and which occurred in 1915, within the conditions of World War I," Yildirim said.

He said the German parliament should "not turn a deaf ear to the voice" of around 3 million ethnic Turks living in Germany.

"God willing, common sense will prevail and such a disturbing decision won't emerge," Yildirim said.

On Wednesday evening, several hundred people waving mainly Turkish flags gathered at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, close to the parliament building, to protest the motion.

"Parliaments cannot decide whether a genocide exists or not," said Mehmet Kaplan, a 35-year-old from Munich of Turkish origin. "If we really want to know it, then let's open the archives and then we will see what the case really is."

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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