German MPs given protection after genocide threats

German MPs given protection after genocide threats

The Armenian quarter of Adana after a massacre in 1909. Source: Wikimedia

German MPs of Turkish origin have been told not to visit their ethnic homeland and they will receive increased police protection after the parliament in Berlin voted to declare the 1915-6 massacres of Armenians.

Around 11 MPs have received threats after the vote earlier this month.

The parliament voted in favour of recognising the mass-murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Turkey says far fewer were killed while disputing the term genocide.

Der Spiegel magazine said the foreign ministry had advised the MPs against travelling to Turkey.

“It is unspeakable to know that it is not possible to fly there for now,” Aydan Ozoguz, Germany’s integration commissioner told Der Spiegel, adding that other MPs of Turkish descent had also cancelled business visits to the increasingly repressive state.

The Frankfurt Allgemeine said the 11 MPs would receive increased police protection and security measures for both their professional and private activities.

Thomas de Maiziere, German interior minister, told the paper that the bulk of the 3.5 million people with Turkish heritage in Germany were “good neighbours” and said the activists were “isolated cases”.

Cem Ozdemir, head of the German Green Party, who drafted the resolution, told the Turkish-Armenian publication Agos that despite receiving “death threats and insults”, at least the MPs were “not imprisoned” and not had their “immunity lifted for having simply expressed what we thought, unlike our colleagues in Turkey”.

Ozdemir told the Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that he had received threats. “At some point, your German friends will have forgotten that, we won’t” and “We will find you everywhere”, the messages apparently said.

He asked Turkish groups in Germany to condemn the threats. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remarked that German MPs of Turkish origin who voted for the declaration should be given blood tests, accusing them of having “tainted blood” and being terrorists. “What sort of Turks are they?” he asked.

The mayor of Ankara tweeted that the MPs had “stabbed us in the back”. Ex-Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tweeted: “The German parliament has blinded itself to what happened in 1915 and placed itself in the position of a court and this is unacceptable.”

Norbert Lammert, the president of the Bundestag, said a threat against an MP was an attack on the entire parliament.

The bulk of Turkish immigration to Germany happened during the “guest worker” programme of the 1960s and 1970s.

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