Turkish Parliament speaker objects to German counterpart’s definition of killings of Armenians
In his response letter, Çiçek said 'the 1915 forced migration' was a militaristic requirement under the tough conditions of war. AA PhotoIn a letter sent to the president of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek has stated that the “forced migration of the Armenian people” during World War I amounted to “neither deportation nor mass murder.”
Remarks by Lammert delivered in early July during a meeting on the centenary of World War I prompted the letter from Çiçek, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Aug. 11.
In the ceremony held at the Bundestag on July 3, Lammert reportedly mentioned “Armenian massacres” and said “the exile and extermination of Armenians turned mass deportation and killings into an instrument of war.”
In his response letter, Çiçek said “the 1915 forced migration” was a militaristic requirement under the tough conditions of war.
“Within the content of this precaution imposed by war conditions, the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman State who were living behind the front lines were relocated to Syria which was then an Ottoman territory. In this regard, forced migration is neither deportation nor mass murder,” he said.
“While implementing this precaution for security reasons, a large number of Armenians who were citizens of the Ottoman Empire lost their lives due to difficulties stemming from that day’s conditions. I’m convinced that it is very well known by Germany, with which we were comrades during World War I, that forced migration was a military requirement,” Çiçek added.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their forebears were killed in 1915-1916 by the forces of the Ottoman Empire, in what many around the world have termed a “genocide,” which Ankara denies. Meanwhile, Turkey disputes the figure, arguing that only 500,000 died while also denying that the killings amounted to genocide, attributing the toll to fighting and starvation during World War I.