With German parliament due to vote on a controversial Armenian resolution bill on Thursday, government officials from various circles have slammed the bill, refusing to refer to the incidents as genocide. On Saturday, Federal Immigration, Refugees and Integration Commissioner Aydan Özoğuz from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) criticized the much-anticipated vote in German parliament, which has brought a 100-year-old incident into the spotlight with references to genocide.
"This vote will slam doors and prevent historical studies from being conducted between Turkey and Armenia," Özoğuz told the German public broadcaster ARD on Saturday. Despite her critical stance, Özoğuz says she will vote in favor of the joint Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), SPD and Greens bill on Thursday.
Ankara vehemently refuses to label the mass deaths of Ottoman Armenians as genocide, with the Turkish government asserting that such a vote should not happen in parliaments, and that there should rather be studies by independent historians who could clarify incidents such as this one. "No one will pay attention to even a word of some parliaments in this case," deputy prime minister and government spokesman Numan Kurtulmuş said on Monday after a Cabinet meeting.
Many Turkish nongovernmental organizations have also protested the bill, which labels the incidents as genocide, warning of the potential collapse of peaceful coexistence between Germany and Turkey. More than 550 nongovernmental organizations in Turkey have sent letters to German President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel and German deputies, warning that acknowledging the incidents as genocide will have immense effects on relations.
On Saturday, Turkish associations and organizations held demonstrations in Berlin against the proposed resolution. More than 1,000 people marched from Potsdamer Platz to the Brandenburg Gate, according to police reports. Protesters held posters saying, "German Parliament is incompetent" and "Parliaments are not courts of law."
Moreover, the Turkish-German solidarity platform and several Turkish unions held a large rally on Wednesday against the German Parliament's decision to put the resolution to vote.
Daily Sabah German spoke with former deputy and Daily Sabah contributor Ozan Ceyhun regarding the controversial bill. When asked about why German parliament plans to vote on such a resolution 100 years after the events, Ceyhun said that it constitutes another step against the "new and independent Turkey."
"Certain circles in Europe are trying to explore all ways to harm Turkey," Ceyhun contended. "They put their hopes in terrorist organizations to stand in the way of Turkey and especially of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"The Gezi protests in Taksim as well as the coups attempts on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 years earlier were not accidental, but premeditated operations," Ceyhun said, charging that German deputies are hurting Turks and Armenians due to false and biased information about the Armenian genocide.
"This is not an issue that the federal government has to solve. If there are conflicts between Turks and Armenians, this can be clarified among themselves through dialogue. Turkey has been calling on Armenia to organize an international historical review with historians," Ceyhun said.
"The deputies are currently receiving protest mail. It is questionable how those deputies who vote to declare it genocide want to win votes from Turkish-German in the next election. The deputies should leave both Turks and Armenians in peace and focus on their own concerns," Ceyhun added.