Germany and Turkey leave the issue of 'Armenian genocide' in the past

Germany and Turkey leave the issue of 'Armenian genocide' in the past

A long-overdue event has occurred in relations between Berlin and Ankara: it seems that the issue of the Armenian genocide is no longer on the bilateral political agenda. Recall that Spiegel magazine reported earlier that the German government's plans to "publicly distance itself" from the resolution adopted by the Bundestag, in which Turkey is accused of committing genocide against Armenians a century ago. The resolution was adopted at a moment when Turkish-German relations were extremely tense, and basically was a diplomatic "slap" to the government of Erdogan.

That is why Spiegel's report was an informational bomb. If the Berlin authorities distanced themselves from this parliamentary resolution openly so that Ankara would allow German MPs to visit the Incirlik air base, then the German side would be the receiver of this diplomatic "slap". So official Berlin made a careful political move that allowed it to save face and please Turkey at the same time.

The German government spokesman Steffen Seibert commented on numerous publications about the "genocide" in the German press on Friday. Seibert immediately dismissed these allegations as wrong. But the meaning and content of the subsequent statement suggest the opposite. Spiegel was right: the German government has distanced itself from the resolution. "The German parliament has the right and the freedom to speak out on any subject and at any time it deems necessary, and the German government supports and protects this sovereign right. The federal government has no right to interfere with the activity of another constitutional authority and make evaluative judgments on this matter. The Bundestag has the sovereign right to speak out on various issues, as is the case with this resolution," Seibert said during a press briefing. At the same time, he noted that this resolution is non-binding for the German government, being a political declaration, not a legal document. "In fact, the word "genocide" has a clear legal definition, which is interpreted by the relevant courts," he added.

Steffen Seibert and Angela Merkel 

In this way, the federal government of Germany has protected the Bundestag's right to speak out on such issues (no one questioned this right), but at the same refused to express any opinion on this specific resolution, saying that  the courts are responsible for determining whether it is possible to describe this act as genocide from the point of view of a legal definition. This is called "distancing".

In the end, Germany managed to save face, and now cooperation between Ankara and Berlin is no longer burdened by this issue. Representatives of the Armenian diaspora in Germany, especially members of the central council of Armenians in Germany, can't hide their disappointment and indignation with official Berlin's position, calling it "disgraceful and chaotic." Meanwhile, the Turkish embassy in Berlin has expressed its satisfaction with the statements of the German government spokesman. This story has once again demonstrated that the issue of events that happened a century ago is nothing more than an instrument of pressure today (and quite an effective one). It is used against Turkey by various countries in order to reach agreements with it, and not to promote the interests of the Armenian diaspora and state.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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