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German MPs who voted to recognise Armenia 'genocide' given full police protection

Politicians of Turkish origin warned not to travel to Turkey or risk personal security

Gabriel Samuels
Tuesday 14 June 2016 19:15 BST
Activists protest outside the Reichstag building while the Bundestag discussed a resolution on the Armenian genocide (file pic)
Activists protest outside the Reichstag building while the Bundestag discussed a resolution on the Armenian genocide (file pic) (Getty Images)

Eleven German MPs have been placed under 24-hour police protection due their involvement in a dispute with Turkey which dates back to the First World War.

The politicians have received thousands of death threats after voting for citizens to be allowed to describe the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide.

They have also been warned by Germany’s foreign ministry not to travel to Turkey, or face risking their personal security.

Last week’s vote in German parliament has created deeper tensions with Turkey, with the latter’s President Recep Erdogan reacting angrily to the decision and the country recalling its ambassador from Berlin.

One of the MPs in question, Green Party leader Cem Ozdemir, told the Local: “This genocide was waiting to be worked through. There is never a favorable time to speak about something as dreadful as genocide.”

He also confirmed he had been sent multiple messages from Turkish protesters, including some saying: “We will find you anywhere”.

In reaction to the announcement, Mr Erdogan accused the MPs of backing the “terrorism” of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has campaigned to have the massacre reclassified.

He continued by demanding that the MPs have “blood tests” to “see what kind of Turks they really are” as he suspected they had "impure blood".

Armenia claims as many as 1.5 million of its people were murdered during the atrocities, although Turkey says the number of deaths was far fewer.

Turkey argues many of the dead were killed in combat during the First World War and were not innocent people slaughtered by troops, although this account has been disputed by Germany, France and Russia.

The UK, the US and most other countries are yet to adopt an official position on the matter

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