Germany will do more to facilitate dialogue between Armenia and Turkey after officially recognizing the Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, a senior German diplomat said on Friday.
Matthias Kiesler, the German ambassador in Yerevan, argued that in its genocide resolution adopted on Thursday the German parliament, the Bundestag, also urged the country’s government to promote Turkish-Armenian reconciliation by arranging more contacts between the two nations and their citizens.
“As regards the consequences of the resolution, one of them -- and this was clearly stated in the resolution -- is that we should more for reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia,” Kiesler told reporters.
“Germany already has a lot of projects to bring together the civil societies of Armenia and Turkey, and I think [the resolution] is an encouragement to do even more in this area,” he said.
“In the long run, of course we would like to see that one day there will be diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia and the frontiers between the two states will be opened,” added the diplomat.
Ankara and Yerevan agreed to establish diplomatic relations and open the Turkish-Armenian border when they signed two Western-backed protocols in Zurich in 2009. However, the Turkish government subsequently made their parliamentary ratification conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict sought by Azerbaijan.
Armenia rejects this precondition, arguing that the protocols make no reference to Karabakh. The United States and the European Union have repeatedly called for their unconditional implementation by both sides.
The Bundestag resolution similarly calls on the German government to strive for the ratification of the Turkish-Armenian accords.
Ankara reacted angrily to the genocide resolution, accusing German lawmakers of distorting history and recalling Turkey’s ambassador in Berlin for consultations. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said it will seriously damage German-Turkish relations.
Still, Yildirim stated on Friday that Germany remains a key NATO ally for his country. “Germany and Turkey are two very important allies,” the AFP news agency quoted him as saying. “No one should expect that relations will suddenly deteriorate completely because of this decision or similar decisions.”
"Whatever the circumstances, we will continue the relationship with our friends and our allies," added Yildirim.