iStock/Thinkstock(BERLIN) — German lawmakers approved a resolution Thursday recognizing the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as “genocide,” prompting immediate backlash from Turkey.
The motion passed with overwhelming support from all parties in the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament. Only one member of Parliament voted against the resolution and another abstained from voting.
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany shortly after the resolution passed. Ambassador Huseyin Avni Karslioglu is expected to return to Ankara Thursday afternoon, according to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
As many as 1.5 million Armenians are estimated to have been killed by Ottoman Turks during World War I. Turkey, however, has long denied that the massacres that started in 1915 were genocide, insisting that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest as the Ottoman Empire fell.
“The Armenian claims on the 1915 events, and especially the numbers put forward, are all baseless and groundless,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last year, according to local media. “Our ancestors did not persecute.”
The decision to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide comes amid increasing tension between Turkey and the European Union over stemming the unprecedented flow of migrants and refugees.
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