Row intensifies after Armenia resolution

German MPs of Turkish origin are under tight police protection after receiving death threats following the Armenia resolution. The President of the German Bundestag Norbert Lammert and the President of the EU Parliament Martin Schulz reacted with harsh criticism to insults directed at the MPs by President Erdoğan last week. It's high time Turkey was put in its place, commentators say.

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Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Red card for Turkey

Erdoğan's derogatory remarks in the wake of last week's Armenia resolution have pushed the question of Turkey's joining the EU even further into the distant future, Jyllands-Posten believes:

“It must be made perfectly clear to Turkey that its current path can only lead in one direction: away from Europe. Europe's values rule out the possibility of the Turkey we have seen in recent days joining the EU - and even any cooperation with it. The only reason Erdoğan is not put on a par with Putin is that the EU's current priorities are dictated by realpolitik. But there will be a day after Erdoğan, and then with any luck relations will enter a more constructive phase. Turkey's geographic situation makes close cooperation logical. But for now the country's president is simply unreliable.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Erdoğan's long arm

The threats against German-Turkish MPs after the Bundestag passed the Armenia resolution are a sign of Turkey's growing influence within Europe, writes the daily De Telegraaf, warning of a similar trend in the Netherlands:

“The threats aimed at members of the German Bundestag underline the fact that our Western freedoms are under attack. … The German MPs have had to seek protection from the police because of the threats from the (German)-Turkish side. This highlights once more how long Erdoğan's arm has become. And in the Netherlands too, the seedling of hatred of anything and anyone that criticises the Turkish government has been planted. In this context the new political movement Denk stands out. The former social democratic MPs Kuzu and Özturk have repeatedly acted as mouthpieces for Ankara. ... If Denk is successful, the discord in our country will grow. And that will mean that the Turkish arm has grown even longer.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Merkel kowtowing to Erdoğan

Angela Merkel should have been as adamant as Norbert Lammert in her condemnation of the attacks against MPs of Turkish origin, Deutschlandfunk admonishes:

“In a matter of minutes the president of the German Bundestag said all that needed to be said. He didn't foam at the mouth but spoke in a controlled yet cutting tone, and what he said was a slap in the face for the Turkish president. … Over the last few days Angela Merkel has had every opportunity to find the clear words that Norbert Lammert spoke. … 'Inexplicable' was the term she used on Wednesday to describe the statements on the Turkish side - a timid wording that offers the threatened MPs no protection and only reinforces the image of a German government that will do everything it can to avoid angering the powerful leader in Ankara.”

Agos (TR) /

Fascist rituals in Turkey

Erdoğan's attacks on Turkish-German members of the Bundestag reflect poorly on the Turkish regime's mentality, the weekly paper of the Armenian minority Agos writes:

“These reactions were not unexpected, but as always they have raised the denial of 1915 to cult status. Such fascist rituals are taking place against a backdrop of growing violence, and in combination with the Kurdish conflict. ... Ironically the 'blood politics' has been cited in the context of both topics to show that Turkey is not a racist country. The idea is that Turkey did not do anything shameful in 1915 and that there is no Kurdish problem in the country. At the same time, however, slogans like 'only a dead Armenian is a good Armenian' are making the rounds, as are demands in the social media that the Kurds should be resettled. ... We are now confronted with a brazen regime that demands of the grandchildren of a murdered, expelled, dispossessed and intimidated people that they take part in this denial.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Government's comments unacceptable

Erdoğan declared on Sunday that Turkish-German members of the Bundestag who voted for the Armenia resolution are not real Turks and their blood should be tested. The government's statements are irresponsible, Milliyet criticises:

“For example Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ stated that 'People like that have bad blood in their veins and sucked on bad milk as infants, and can represent neither Turkey nor the Turkish people'. If that's Turkey's response it's not self-defence but an own goal. Even the comments from provincial cafés are more nuanced than that. And yet it's the task of the government to defend law and justice in Turkey and to foster an awareness of them among the public.”

Trouw (NL) /

Erdoğan's statements detrimental to Turks

The Turkish President's condemnation of Germany after it recognised the Armenian genocide has a negative impact not just on his own country, the daily Trouw comments:

“The way in which Turkey and its leaders voice criticism is a growing problem. With his harsh reactions to critics both within Turkey and abroad Erdoğan is stifling the debate that is so necessary for his country to realise its full potential. Freedom of expression is decisive for Turkey's development and forms the basis for sensible dealings with its neighbours and other partners. By repeatedly demanding loyalty from Turks living abroad he is also hindering the successful integration of these migrants in their new home country. They must feel free to participate fully in the debates in their country, even when those debates deal with Turkish history.”

Pravda (SK) /

Don't deny genocide, face up to it

Hysterical reactions on the part of the Turks are nothing new when the topic is the Armenian genocide, Pravda comments:

“Denial is now part of the Turkish state doctrine. What's more, Ankara has disseminated worldwide its own revisionist image of what took place 101 years ago. That's just as absurd as if someone in Germany denied the Holocaust today. He'd run the risk of going to jail for spreading the Auschwitz lie. In Turkey it's the exact opposite. Comments about the Armenian genocide are punishable as 'insults to the Turkish nation'. ... However Turkey remains trapped in its past. The Germans have now joined the more than two dozen countries that have loudly denounced the crime. ... This issue must not be continually swept under the carpet. An effort must be made to deal with it. There is no other path to true reconciliation.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

A long overdue resolution

The German parliament's decision was the right one in the eyes of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“What drove the German parliamentarians to pass this long overdue resolution now after failing to do so in 2015 is a matter of debate. The desire to take a swipe at Präsident Erdoğan or even the German government, which has long been suspected of kowtowing to the Turkish leader, no doubt played a role. Yet it is a fitting gesture of the Bundestag to follow the examples of other national parliaments and, like France, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands, finally call the genocide by its name. It was also important to acknowledge Germany's share of the blame. To continue holding back would have been cowardly - and would have reaffirmed the accusation that Germany was susceptible to blackmail.”

Star (TR) /

There was no Armenian genocide

The resolution is a political attack against Turkey, the pro-government Turkish daily Star complains:

“The German parliament's decision is aimed at keeping Turkey completely under its control, preventing its accession to the EU and defying Erdoğan. … In the First World War both the Turks and the Armenians experienced great suffering. But there was no Armenian genocide. Never in the entire history of this nation has genocide been committed against anyone simply because of their race. This nation has adopted thousands of Armenian children. It is a nation that opened its arms to the Jews who fled Spain some 500 years ago. Germany can't assuage its own bad conscience, tormented by the genocide it committed, by making us its accomplice.”

La Stampa (IT) /

The right decision at the wrong time

The timing of the German parliament's resolution couldn't have been worse, Germany expert Gian Enrico Rusconi comments in La Stampa:

“In connection with the refugee deal Ankara demanded not just the lifting of visa restrictions and the resumption of the accession talks, but also that there be no more interference in the country's 'internal affairs'. … Under domestic pressure and at the end of his tether, Erdoğan has threatened Brussels with breaking off the pact, meaning that the German parliament's resolution couldn't have come at a worse time. It's unclear who will pick up the thread now. I don't know whether Erdoğan will simply raise the stakes in the game with the EU or take advantage of the nation's injured pride to extend his autocratic power even further.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Row over resolution embarassing

The whole resolution row is a sorry spectacle, Die Welt concludes:

“The SPD foreign minister fled to South America so he wouldn't have to be present for the vote. And the chancellor too is apparently considering hiding away at a natural science conference during the vote because of her refugee deal with Turkish President Erdogan. This is embarrassing. But truly sad is the behaviour of certain Turkish associations in Germany. Some functionaries have been flooding the MPs with pamphlets, calls and in some cases even threats for days now. The fact that they are concentrating their efforts on MPs with a Turkish background says all that needs to be said about their false self-image: these MPs are not the exclusive representatives of a minority.”

Sme (SK) /

Erdoğan must not determine German policies

The German parliament's vote on an Armenia resolution is poorly timed but is right in principle, Sme believes:

“That's what you call bad timing, with Europe just having signed a fragile agreement on refugees with Turkey. It would have been understandable if Angela Merkel had intervened or watered down the resolution. Sometimes it's better to avoid a confrontation for a higher principle. … On the other hand it's increasingly hard to believe that making further concessions to Erdoğan makes any sense. … 'We go our way and you go yours,' he said. In this situation it would be a mistake to allow Erdoğan to mix the cards once more, particularly as this is about German domestic policy. Erdoğan has become a blackmailer and is fuelling Europe's fear of him. And as with all blackmailers, only we can disarm him and thus free ourselves of our fear.”

T24 (TR) /

Nationalist ignorance rules in Turkey

Turkey's new Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (of the AKP) stated on Wednesday that the killings of 1915 were not genocide but ordinary events within the context of World War 1. Columnist Hasan Cemal voices outrage on the liberal news website T24:

“The whole world has recognised the events of 1915 as genocide. This can't be denied. But even if you don't call it genocide you could at least express sympathy out of regard for the survivors. … Such feelings are not to be found in Prime Minister Yıldırım. He dares to call 1915 an ordinary event. … Is such lack of emotion a product of ignorance? Or is it a deliberate stance aimed at wooing nationalist votes? I don't care. The AKP leadership was not always like this. … However, a lot of time has passed since then. … Is this surprising? No, because an Islamist-nationalist alliance is forming.”

Kristeligt Dagblad (DK) /

Denmark must speak up too

Denmark should view the debate on the Armenian resolution in the German parliament as an example to be followed, Kristeligt Dagblad urges:

“The Danish government is playing into the hands of Turkish revisionism by remaining silent when it should speak up. The main argument for not calling a genocide a genocide is that it could have a negative impact on relations with Turkey at a time when we need Turkey as an ally both militarily and in refugee policy. But there will always be pragmatic arguments for denying the past. In the long term it is democratically indefensible for politicians to take part in concealing the scope of this massacre. The Danish government wants to fight the persecution of Christians wherever it occurs. But if it lacks the courage to talk about the persecution that decimated the Christian population of the Ottoman Empire around 1900, that shows how empty this promise is.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

Genocide accusation unacceptable

More than 500 Turkish organisations have called for protests against the German parliament's genocide resolution. Columnist Akif Beki joins the protest in the daily paper Hürriyet but also praises the tolerance displayed by German politicians:

“What they are trying to push through in parliament is unacceptable. I agree entirely with the criticism voiced by Turkey and the German Turks. It is commendable. I have no doubt whatsoever that the German politicians behind the draft law deserve the harshest reactions. However, the politicians are neither trying to suppress the anger nor are they criminalising the protest actions or condemning them as externally orchestrated crimes against the state. On the one hand they are provoking people's anger but on the other they tolerate the revolt. Isn't that amazing?”

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