Resolution on Armenian Genocide sparks lively debate in German Bundestag

Yesterday in the Bundestag (Parliament) of Germany a resolution on the Armenian Genocide as proposed by the Green Party, was discussed.

The representatives of the ruling coalition of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) chose not to jeopardize the negotiation process on the issue of refugees with Turkey.  The Green Party has proposed to vote on the resolution after the next month’s summit with the EU on the issue of refugees.

The parties have agreed to revise the document and submit for consideration a joint resolution, which will contain three main provisions: a clear statement that the events of 1915 was genocide, the recognition of Germany’s historical complicity in it, and to provide assistance to improve Armenian - Turkish relations.

The co-chairman of the Green Party who is one of the authors of the draft resolution, Cem Özdemir, has expressed dissatisfaction with the position of the ruling coalition to "not anger Erdogan."

In an interview with the newspaper Agos, Özdemir noted that the parliamentary forces mainly support the resolution.  However, while raising the issue of inter-state relations, the resolution is in a deadlock.  The co-author of the resolution, a Turk by nationality, Cem Özdemir, stressed that the question is more a matter of conscience than a political statement.

In 2005 the German Parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide.  In the resolution, however, the word "genocide" was not used; it was referred to as "the massacre of the Armenians."

In March 2015, when the question was again included on the agenda of the Parliament, the President of the Bundestag, Norbert Lamert, stated that "what happened in the Ottoman Empire in the eyes of the world during the First World War - it is genocide.  And it was not the last genocide in the twentieth century."

Before the hearings in the Bundestag on the 24th of April 2015, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that he stands by those deputies who are in favor of determining what happened as "genocide."

On the 23rd of April 2015, during an event marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at the Cathedral of Berlin, the country's President, Joachim Gauck, made a speech and used the term "genocide."

After that, the Parliament discussed the issue, during which both the left and the Greens took a very pro-Armenian position while the ruling party has proposed more neutral language.

  Europe, Turkey, Armenia, Genocide