Personal police guard given to Turkish-origin German MP after ‘Armenian genocide’ bill
BERLINA personal police guard has been given to a Turkish-origin German politician who has received multiple death threats after the Bundestag’s approval of a resolution recognizing the World War I-era killings of Anatolian Armenians at the hands of Ottomans as “genocide.”
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.
“We are in close contact with the security units. We got used to insults and swearings. However we have never received the amount of death threats we received in the recent days,” Marc Berthold said, adding that the threats were forwarded to the police.
The threats, which were sent via social media, e-mail and letters, were collected by Greens officials and the police were investigating their origins.
The number of guards assigned to protect Özdemir was not disclosed, as his family and house were also placed under protection.
“Unfortunately there are Turkish PEGIDA members. Germany doesn’t grant privilege to far rightists,” said Özdemir, referring to the far-right Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident.
“It’s said that there are far rightists in Turkey and among the Turks in Germany,” he added.
Germany’s Bundestag or lower house of parliament on June 2 overwhelmingly approved a resolution that described the 1915-16 killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as “genocide.”
Yerevan has long sought international recognition of the “genocide,” but Ankara rejects the use of the term to describe the World War I-era killings and argues that it was a collective tragedy in which an equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.
Ankara put up fierce opposition before and after the vote, recalling the Turkish envoy to Germany and summoning the German charge d’affaires in Ankara for consultations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also slammed Germany for approving the bill, saying his country would never accept the accusation that its forefathers committed genocide.
“Hey Germany, what do you want to do? What is your problem? First, say it. When I talked to her [German Chancellor Angela Merkel], do you know what she said to me three or four days before that incident? She said: ‘I will do my best.’ Is it your best not to attend the vote in parliament? If you had an honest manner here, you would attend. Well, a lady voted no, the second no would be your vote and I would applaud you,” Erdoğan said, adding that they were neither honest nor sincere.