Accessibility links

EU Leaders Strike Back At Turkey's Erdogan Over Armenian Genocide Vote

European leaders struck back against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's repeated criticisms of German lawmakers for voting to recognize the Ottomans' massacre of Armenians as genocide.

The Turkish president has slammed the Bundestag's 11 lawmakers of Turkish origin for voting last week to call the World War I killings of 1.5 million Armenians genocide, suggesting they had "tainted blood."

German Parliament President Norbert Lammert said on June 9 that he "would not have thought it possible that a democratically elected president in the 21st century" could utter such a criticism, which he said unleashed a torrent of "hateful threats and insults" against the lawmakers.

Erdogan also called German legislators "unprincipled" for their votes, and he has suggested they were aiding terrorism by supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party, which Turkey is battling in a bloody campaign.

Lammert strongly rejected the idea that lawmakers are "mouthpieces of terrorists."

European Parliament President Martin Schulz also expressed "great concern" to the Turkish leader, who has been pressing for action on Turkey's application to join the European Union, saying his terrorist accusation "represents an absolute breach of taboo."

Shultz said Erdogan's comments "will not be without consequences on international relations."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa