Armenia genocide vote will not destroy Turkish-German ties: Turkish PM

AFP , Friday 3 Jun 2016

Turkey Germany ties
Image Caption : German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) hands a chocolate football to Turkish Ambassador to Germany, Huseyin Avni Karslioglu (L) who is wearing Turkey's football jersey during a function at the foreign ministry in Berlin on May 31, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

Turkey and Germany are "two very important allies" and the German parliament's qualification of World War I killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide will not destroy their relations, Turkey's prime minister said Friday.

"Germany and Turkey are two very important allies. No one should expect that relations will suddenly deteriorate completely because of this decision or similar decisions," Binali Yildirim told a news conference.

"That doesn't mean however that we will not react, that we will say nothing."

The comments came a day after Turkey reacted with fury to the vote, recalling its ambassador to Germany for consultations and threatening further measures.

Berlin's lower house of parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on the 1915-16 killings -- one MP voted against and another abstained -- in a move touching a raw nerve in Turkish-European relations.

The use of the word "genocide" goes to the heart of a long-running battle for world opinion between Armenia and Turkey over the massacres committed a century ago.

Armenia has led a decades-long campaign to have the bloodshed characterised as genocide, which Turkey rejects as a gross injustice.

Ankara argues the killings were a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks and Armenians died.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Thursday that the motion would "seriously affect" ties between the countries and said he would take further action when he returned to Turkey from a visit to Kenya.

Yildirim Friday also said he considered the vote "seriously damages relations between Germany and Turkey", and said the "appropriate responses" will be made.

But he added that "we will continue our relationship with our friends, with our allies."

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