Merkel’s Spokesman: German-Turkish Relations Are Strong Enough

hhhGerman-Turkish relations are strong enough to withstand any differences in views, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said June 3, a day after parliament incurred Ankara’s wrath by passing a resolution recognizing the World War I-era killings of Ottoman Armenians as “genocide.”

“The relationship between Germany and Turkey is very broad and very deep,” Steffen Seibert told journalists, underlining wide-ranging collaboration including on the migration crisis.

“Such ties can and will weather any differences in opinion,” said the spokesman, who also pointed to the special relationship due to the three-million-strong ethnic Turkish population living in Germany.

Carrying a clear message from Merkel to any dissenting ethnic Turks in Germany, Seibert said: “You are and remain a part of our country”.

“The democratic culture of our country means that there may be contentious disputes but which also means that different opinions can be expressed in a peaceful manner,” he said.

The Bundestag or lower house of parliament on June 2 overwhelmingly approved a resolution that describes the 1915-16 killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as “genocide.”

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.

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