Top 10 Facts about Germany’s Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Script written by Sean Harris It's one of the darkest marks in twentieth century Eurasian history, and a massacre that actually inspired the invention of the word genocide. Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from WatchMojo.com where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we're counting down 10 crucial facts you should know about Germany’s recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Credits
Tags
Comments

You must login to access this feature

Transcript
Script written by Sean Harris

Top 10 Facts about Germany’s Recognition of the Armenian Genocide


It’s one of the darkest marks in twentieth century Eurasian history, and a massacre that actually inspired the invention of the word ‘genocide’. Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from WatchMojo.com where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we’re counting down 10 crucial facts you should know about Germany’s recognition of the Armenian genocide.

#10: What Happened in Armenia During WWI?
The Genocide

The Armenian Genocide – known to Armenians as Medz Yeghern, or ‘Great Crime’ – was a systematic extermination of Armenian people within theOttoman Empire during World War One. It’s usually said to have begun on April 24th, 1915, when the Ottoman government rounded up and executed over 200 Armenian intellectuals. There followed a targeted, organised effortto capture and kill Armenian people, under the guise that they posed a threat to Ottoman security. It’s estimated that up to 1.5 million died, with thousands of able-bodied males directly massacred, while women, children and the infirm were led on ‘death marches’ into the Syrian desert without food or water. American president Theodore Roosevelt later called it ‘thegreatest crime’ of the First World War.

#9: How Did the Ottoman Empire Become Turkey?
The Perpetrator

The Ottoman Empire, which had fought and lost WWI on the side of Central Powers Germany and Austria-Hungary, was partitioned following the Treatyof Sèvres, signed on August 10th, 1920. The treaty’s terms saw the Empire’s landmass dramatically reduced, major restrictions placed on its military (including prohibition of an air force) and Ottoman financial control handed over to the Allies. The treaty quickly inspired the Turkish War ofIndependence, which lasted until the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in July 1923, which officially recognised the Ottoman Empire as defunct and theRepublic of Turkey as its successor.

#8: What Is the Status of Armenia Today?
The Petition

Following WWI, tension in Armenia continued and in 1922 it became part ofthe Soviet Union. However, by the 1980s Armenia had become stifled under Soviet rule, and in 1990 it declared independence. That independence was officially recognised with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, as Levon Ter-Petrosyan was elected first President of the Republic of Armenia. While Medz Yeghern has been recognised as genocide by many major nations, theUS Congress has yet to do so. Over 40 American state governments have acknowledged the atrocity however, and in light of multiple national and international petitions, pressure mounts on Congress to do the same.

#7: Who Has Acknowledged the Genocide?
The Supporters

The United Nations defined the ‘Great Crime’ as genocide in 1985, as partof The Whitaker Report. In 1997, the International Association of GenocideScholars officially termed it as genocide, and the European Parliament backed a motion for official recognition in 2015. Countries including Russia, Italy, France and Canada have acknowledged the genocide, while over 40 US states have also done so, as well as three parts of the United Kingdom. By contrast, pnly the governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan officially deny that the events beginning in 1915 were genocide.

#6: What Happened in Germany?
The Resolution

In June 2016, the German parliament resolved that the massacres and ‘death marches’ were genocide, therefore adding their name to the growing list of nations and organisations that recognise it. The Bundestag session concluded with an overwhelming majority voting to acknowledge genocide, with many of the speeches referring to German guilt and responsibility in relation to the killings, which were carried out by their military allies.Armenian representatives were present at the vote, and held up signs ofthanks following the result.

#5: How Did the World React to Germany?
The Response

The Armenian government praised Germany, with foreign minister Edward Nalbandian thanking the country for a “valuable contribution not only tothe international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, but also to the universal fight for the prevention of genocides and crimes against humanity.” Given Germany’s own dark history with genocide and its indirect involvement in WWI Armenia, the vote has been met favorably by other nations, especially those that already officially recognise theArmenian Genocide. Perhaps more so than that of any other country, Germany’s acknowledgement serves as a major blow to the Turkish government still trying to deny what increasing numbers view as facts.

#4: What Is Turkey’s Stance?
The Opposition

The vote prompted an angry reaction from Turkey, which has held significant ties with Germany throughout modern history. The republic’s capital, Ankara, recalled its German ambassador within hours of therecognition and Turkey’s government has criticised Germany for the move that is set to test their friendship. However, Turkey does appear willing towork on the ties between the two countries. The Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has stressed that the nations are “two very important allies” and that he doesn’t expect the relationship to “deteriorate completely”. Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also promised, “we will do whatever is necessary to resolve this issue.”

#3: What Is the Current Refugee Situation?
The Crisis

The developments could have major implications in Europe in general, asthe continent is amidst a ‘migrant crisis’. Millions of refugees have entered into Europe fleeing conflict in the Middle East and surrounding areas – Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in particular – and utilising the open border policies. In 2015, EU states reportedly received over 1 million first time asylum applications, with Germany receiving more than any other nation. While some states have been reluctant to welcome migrants, Angela Merkel and Germany have been one of the most prominent campaigners for therefugees’ integration.

#2: How Will This Affect German-Turkish Relations?
The Refugees

As it has seen the largest influx of migrant arrivals, Germany is particularly reliant upon a March 2016 deal between Turkey and the EU, designed tostem the flow of refugees. As part of the deal, Turkey agreed to take back asylum seekers who land in Greece, theoretically closing the Aegean route that more than 850,000 people travelled in 2015. In return, the EU promised to help with the financial burden, and to give greater consideration to Turkey’s application to become an EU member. As such, if German-Turkish relations sour, it could mean a breakdown of the deal, leaving Germany and Europe to manage the migrant crisis unaided once more.

#1: What Will Happen Next?
The Future

Everything depends upon how the Turkish government chooses to respondto the German vote in the long-term. Germany’s acceptance of Medz Yeghern as genocide is an undoubted blow to the country, which continuesto deny it despite growing international pressure. However, Turkey’s ambitions to be part of the EU may inspire leniency toward Germany – oneof the organisation’s most influential members. Currently, Turkey is a major candidate for EU membership; if it challenges Germany too strongly, especially over an issue as dark and sensitive as this one, then its candidacy credentials could be damaged.

Did these facts get you thinking? To vote for which news story is covered next head over to WatchMojo.comsuggest, and be sure to hit that subscribe button for more newsworthy top tens published every week!

Download

You must register to a corporate account to download. Please login

Related Videos

+ see more

More WMNews