Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany for consultations on Thursday as it strongly condemned German lawmakers for formally recognizing the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the recall just hours after the Bundestag, the lower of house of Germany’s parliament, overwhelmingly approved a corresponding resolution.
In a speech in Ankara cited by Reuters, Yildirim blamed a “racist Armenian lobby” for the passage of the resolution that calls the mass killings and deportations of Armenians a genocide.
Speaking during a visit to Kenya, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recalling the Turkish ambassador in Berlin is a “first step” in his government’s response to the German parliament vote. “This decision that the German parliament has taken is actually a decision that will seriously affect Germany-Turkey relations,” Erdogan told reporters, according to “Hurriyet Daily News.”
The Turkish paper also quoted Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus as calling the genocide resolution a “historic mistake.” “This decision is null and void for Turkey,” he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed hope, meanwhile, that relations between Ankara and Berlin will remain strong after the Bundestag vote. “There is a lot that binds Germany to Turkey and even if we have a difference of opinion on an individual matter, the breadth of our links, our friendship, our strategic ties, is great," she told a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Merkel also said that Germany supports dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.
Erdogan telephoned Merkel earlier this week to warn the German parliament against passing the resolution welcomed by Armenia.