Germany’s parliament speaker Norbert Lammert condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday for demanding blood tests for German lawmakers of Turkish origin who voted for a resolution recognizing the 1915 Armenian genocide.
Erdogan singled out the 11 members of the Bundestag earlier this week as he again deplored the resolution overwhelming passed by the German lower house of parliament on June 2. He branded them as terrorists and said they have “tainted blood” that must be tested in a lab.
“I would not have thought it possible that in the 21st century a democratically elected president would link his criticism of democratically elected German Parliament lawmakers with doubts about their Turkish origins and describe their blood as tainted,” Lammert told the Bundestag.
“Also, I reject in all its forms the insinuation that members of this parliament are terrorist mouthpieces,” he said, according to news reports from Berlin.
“Every person that tries to put pressure on individual lawmakers with threats must know they are attacking the entire parliament,” Lammert added to loud applause.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat, condemned Erdogan’s comments “as strongly as possible” in an open letter cited by Deutsche Welle radio. “A string of the German Bundestag MPs you have personally attacked … are among longstanding colleagues of mine, some of them are very close to me personally,” Schulz said. “I feel obliged to protect these colleagues wherever I can.”
Several ethnic Turkish parliamentarians denounced by Erdogan have reported receiving threats and been placed under police protection. One of them, Green Party leader Cem Ozdemir, was a key sponsor of the Armenian genocide resolution.
Erdogan, meanwhile, stood by his controversial remarks, saying that they should not be regarded as racist. “In our culture, saying someone has tainted blood is a reference to their character,” “Hurriyet Daily News” quoted him as saying. “It means a man who wrongs his own people and insists on engaging in bad deeds.”