Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

News from the Turkish Foreign Ministry

Press Release Regarding The Resolution By The Parliament Of The Federal Republic Of Germany Of 2 June 2016 On The Events Of 1915 , 02.06.2016

No: 125, 2 June 2016

The Resolution adopted by the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany on 2 June 2016 concerning the events of 1915, which is regarded as a legitimate matter of debate in the European case-law, is a disgrace to the reputation of this body.

This Resolution is an example of ignorance and disrespect for the Law as politicizing history preventing free discussion on historical issues and trying to impose the self-created taboo of Armenian narrative as an indisputable fact. We, on our part, wish once again to remind those who undersigned it, of the following:

Achieving reconciliation on the controversial events of 1915 is possible only through dialogue, empathy and a fair point of view.

With this understanding, Turkey tries to honour the memory of the Ottoman Armenians, shares their sufferings, preserves Armenian cultural heritage and takes significant steps for paving the way for reconciliation between the two neighbouring nations. In this respect, there is nothing that Turkey will learn from the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany.

If the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany wishes to learn what exactly happened during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, it may contribute to the establishment of the Joint History Commission which will function independently on a scientific basis and open to everyone, as has been persistently proposed by Turkey since 2005.

In Germany, where freedoms can be exercised easily in many fields, there is a univocal and suppressive environment regarding the events of 1915. Instead of comprehending and explaining what had happened in 1915, numerous books, documentaries and films have been fabricated on the basis of purposeful works over so many years, to achieve the duty of forming a one-sided opinion in the German public to impose Armenian narrative on the said events.

Turcophobia and Islamophobia reaching to the level of racism, current developments in domestic politics and foreign policy, some arrogant and opportunist politicians, and the deep trauma created by Germany’s record of past crimes against humanity and genocide extending from Namibia to the Holocaust may possibly be mentioned among the reasons lying behind this policy.

Even worse, this initiative of Germany constitutes an attempt to assimilate Turks and Germans of Turkish origin, who have contributed significantly to the political, economic and socio-cultural life of Germany and to alienate them from their own history and self-identity.

It is also for this reason that the initiatives for dictating the Armenian narrative to young generations by means of public education cause concern. Turkish children in Germany are expected to defend a narrative which they do not believe and know that it is untrue, so as to succeed in history classes. Such a notion of education, is not only incompatible with the ideals of a democratic country and will not help harmonization efforts either.

It goes without saying that there will be resistance against this dictum by use of all kinds of means including legal remedies.

Germany should not politicize an historical event which occurred 101 years ago, and take a fair and objective stance as a requirement of the European Law to which it is a party. In this sense we would like to remind once again the legally binding observations of the European Court of Human Rights to the effect that,

- the Armenian narrative do not reflect the absolute truth and can be discussed freely;

-the opinions questioning the Armenian narrative are under the absolute protection of the freedom of speech;

-and no parallels can be drawn between the events of 1915 and the Holocaust.

It is apprehensive that the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany interprets history arbitrarily, without taking into account the law.

It is clear that this prejudiced and illogical policy is in need of serious self-criticism.

The German public opinion should respect, as a requisite of democracy and human rights, the opinions, memories and sincere efforts of the Turks for the purpose of reconciliation,

We expect that Germany, as our ally and as a country with which we cooperate closely for the future of Europe, will take into consideration our opinions and sensitivities to which we attach vital importance, for the sake of the future of both our bilateral relations as well as the Turkey-Europe relations.

Under these circumstances, H.E. Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the Federal Republic of Germany has been recalled for consultations.