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Tit For Tat: a Turkish Party in Germany

The scenario seems to be like this: President Erdoğan lets loose immigrants wave after wave; the European Union negotiates with him in a bid to have him stop the immigrants flood and contain them on Turkish soil; President Erdoğan demands that Turks be allowed to enter the EU without a visa and that Turkey be admitted to the Union as soon as possible; Brussels-slash-Berlin apparently agrees though the idea of having Turkey as a member state without it conforming its laws to European standards is not palatable; so the German Bundestag comes up with the idea of slapping Ankara in the face by passing a resolution that recognizes and thus brings to the world’s attention the annihilation of Armenians that took place a hundred years back as an act of genocide. In response to or in retaliation for which Ankara recalls its ambassador from Berlin1)Scharfer Protest der Türkei gegen Völkermord-Resolution des Bundestags, Die Welt 2016-06-02., blocks a visit of German politicians to 250 German soldiers stationed at İncirlik Air Base2)Turkey says visit by German politicians to İncirlik base ‘not appropriate’, HurriyetDaily 2016-06-23., and threatens with the worsening of the bilateral relationship.3)Bundestag verurteilt Völkermord der Türkei an den Armeniern, Berlin Journal 2016-06-02. And to top it all, a Turkish party is to be formed in Germany.4)Entfremdung: Türken in Deutschland wollen eigene Partei gründen, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten 2016-06-17.

On the face of it the party is to be founded on the initiative of Remzi Aru, a German businessman of Turkish descent (or a Turk with German citizenship?). Is this initiative his and his alone?

The genocide of Armenians occurred in 1915. The world war had been raging for months then, Armenians inhabited the Ottoman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire was Germany’s (and Austria-Hungary’s) ally. That is the reason why, as if to mollify Ankara and justify its own initiative, the German parliament mentioned the wartime brotherhood of the two states and said that Germany felt it was somehow complicit in the crime.5)Bundestag verurteilt Völkermord der Türkei an den Armeniern, Berlin Journal 2016-06-02. The Bundestag also reminded the world of Germany’s own recent history. Did the Bundestag do it in a bid to placate the Turks? Or was it a painful sting, calling on Turkey to wipe the slate clean by recognizing its murky past before the whole world? Germany has already done her penance and so occupies high moral ground.

With only one vote against and one abstainer (and the German chancellor, vice-chancellor and minister for foreign affairs tactically absent from the debate6)Bundestag verurteilt Völkermord der Türkei an den Armeniern, Berlin Journal 2016-06-02.) the resolution was passed. “Now the Turkish minority in Germany has no political party it can vote for,” said Remzi Aru.7)Unternehmer will Partei für Deutsch-Türken gründen, Berlin Journal 2016-06-10. Turkey’s history had been misunderstood and misinterpreted, said the Turkish government. And both agreed Germany proved to be hostile to Turks. So we have to go about founding our own party – neither a national nor a confessional party by any means – a party of immigrants, of Germans of foreign descent. A party that calls on a ‘multicultural, multi-confessional Germany,’ and against an ‘expansionist Europe and aggressive policy towards her neighbours.”8)Unser Parteiprogramm in Kurzform (erste Zusammenfassung), Remzi Aru 2016-06-09.

Who pulled the strings? The wording of the resolution was put forward by the CDU, SPD (Chancellor Merkel’s party) and the Grünen, and the move was supported by Die Linken (the Left).9)Völkermord-Resolution fast einstimmig verabschiedet, Frankfurter Allgemeine 2016-06-21. Cem Özdemir, an MP from Fraktion der Grünen, of Turkish descent, voted yes; as if showing solidarity with Remzi Aru, not satisfied with Germany’s self-castigation for the appalling atrocities perpetrated during World War Two, reminded Germans of yet another bill to be settled: the cold-blooded massacre of the Herero carried out by German troops.10)Völkermord-Resolution fast einstimmig verabschiedet, Frankfurter Allgemeine 2016-06-21.

The overall support that the resolution received may imply that it is a part of a planned political confrontation with Turkey. The absence of the chancellor, vice-chancellor and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, high-ranking personages, is a message to Ankara that the negotiation door is still open. And why the genocide of Armenians? Apparently in commemoration of a centenary of the event. The subject of the resolution may have been chosen to make also parliamentary deputies of Turkish descent comply: after all these are the Western standards people in decent society are supposed to abide by.11)The only abstainer was a CDU deputy who said the Bundestag’s task was not to voice opinion on historical events. Scharfer Protest der Türkei gegen Völkermord-Resolution des Bundestags, Die Welt 2016-06-02.

References   [ + ]

1. Scharfer Protest der Türkei gegen Völkermord-Resolution des Bundestags, Die Welt 2016-06-02.
2. Turkey says visit by German politicians to İncirlik base ‘not appropriate’, HurriyetDaily 2016-06-23.
3. Bundestag verurteilt Völkermord der Türkei an den Armeniern, Berlin Journal 2016-06-02.
4. Entfremdung: Türken in Deutschland wollen eigene Partei gründen, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten 2016-06-17.
5, 6. Bundestag verurteilt Völkermord der Türkei an den Armeniern, Berlin Journal 2016-06-02.
7. Unternehmer will Partei für Deutsch-Türken gründen, Berlin Journal 2016-06-10.
8. Unser Parteiprogramm in Kurzform (erste Zusammenfassung), Remzi Aru 2016-06-09.
9. Völkermord-Resolution fast einstimmig verabschiedet, Frankfurter Allgemeine 2016-06-21.
10. Völkermord-Resolution fast einstimmig verabschiedet, Frankfurter Allgemeine 2016-06-21.
11. The only abstainer was a CDU deputy who said the Bundestag’s task was not to voice opinion on historical events. Scharfer Protest der Türkei gegen Völkermord-Resolution des Bundestags, Die Welt 2016-06-02.

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