Ankara Threatens ‘Measures’ against Berlin over Genocide Vote

Ankara Threatens ‘Measures’ against Berlin over Genocide Vote
Tue Jun 7, 2016 17:02:11

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey cannot remain silent toward the German parliament's recognition of the Armenian killing as genocide.

Speaking in an interview with state-run TRT Haber news television network on Tuesday, Cavusoglu said Turkey will take measures against the German resolution, without specifying those steps.

"The German government has to say its official stance does not overlap with the German parliament resolution," he said.

The Bundestag voted last week to recognize the 1915-1916 killings by the Ottoman Empire of the Armenians as “genocide.”

Armenians claim that up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were systematically slaughtered in eastern Turkey during World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

Ankara rejects the term “genocide” and says 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks perished between 1915 and 1917.

Israel-Turkey Ties

Cavusoglu further said Ankara and Tel Aviv are only one or two meetings away from normalizing ties.

Israel and Turkey were traditionally close allies in the late 1990s and early 2000s but relations soured following an Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship for the Gaza Strip in May 2010.

The raid killed nine Turkish citizens and injured about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy. A tenth Turkish national later succumbed to his injuries.

The two sides have resumed negotiations in recent months to normalize their relations.

Refugees and asylum seekers sit on the ground upon their arrival with a boat near the village of Finokalia in the southern Greek island of Crete on May 31, 2016. ©AFP

EU-Turkey Refugee Deal

Elsewhere in his remarks, Cavusoglu said Ankara would have to suspend a deal with the EU on refugees if Turks are not provided with visa-free travel in Europe's borderless Schengen zone.

The remarks came more than a week after the Turkish foreign minister threatened to quit the refugee deal with the EU, stating that it was “impossible” for Ankara to meet Brussels’ demands in exchange for visa-free travel across the 28-nation bloc.

Several EU member states argue that granting visa waiver to Turkey, a country of 75 million, would allow influx of more refugees into their countries.

They say Turkey must meet 72 conditions, among them an end to the prosecution of academics and journalists plus modification of its anti-terror laws, before the approval of the visa exemption.

Under the deal sealed in March, Ankara agreed to take back all the asylum seekers and refugees in return for financial aid, visa liberalization and progress in Turkey's EU membership negotiations.

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