Germany warns MPs with Turkish roots against travel to Turkey: Reports

Germany warns MPs with Turkish roots against travel to Turkey: Reports

BERLIN - Reuters
Germany warns MPs with Turkish roots against travel to Turkey: Reports German lawmakers of Turkish origin who have been threatened since parliament declared the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of Ottomans as “genocide,” have been warned not to travel to Turkey and will get increased police protection, German media reported on June 11.

Put forward by the ruling left-right coalition and the opposition Greens, the resolution entitled “Remembrance and commemoration of the genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities in 1915 and 1916” was put to a vote on June 2 and caused a rise in tensions between Berlin and Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the 11 lawmakers of Turkish origin who voted for the resolution should be given blood tests, accusing them of having “tainted blood” and being terrorists.

The co-chair of the Greens in Germany, Cem Özdemir, who played an active role in the approval of the bill, has been receiving death threats since the vote on June 2, his executive assistant said on June 5.

The threats, which were sent via social media, e-mail and letters, were collected by Greens officials and the police were investigating their origins. Meanwhile, an undisclosed number of security guards were assigned to protect Özdemir, as his family and house were also put under protection. 

German weekly Der Spiegel said the German foreign ministry had warned lawmakers against travel to Turkey because their safety could not be guaranteed. The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“It’s unspeakable to know that it’s not possible to fly there for now,” Aydan Özoğuz, Germany’s integration commissioner, was quoted by the magazine as saying.

Other lawmakers with Turkish roots have also canceled business trips to the country, Der Spiegel said.

Separately, the Frankfurt Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported that the 11 lawmakers will now receive increased police protection and further security measures for both their professional and private activities.

“The threats against lawmakers of Turkish origin are unacceptable,” German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the paper. “Of course security measures will be adjusted if necessary.”

He stressed, however, that the majority of the 3.5 million people with Turkish roots who live in Germany were “good neighbors” and said the perpetrators represented “isolated cases.”

Özdemir told the FAS that he had received threats which read: “At some point, your German friends will have forgotten that - we won’t” and “We will find you everywhere.”

He also called on Turkish groups in Germany to condemn the death threats. On June 9, the president of the Bundestag said threats against individual lawmakers were attacks on the entire parliament.