Turkish-origin MPs get police cover in Germany



BERLIN: German lawmakers of Turkish descent have been placed under police protection after receiving death threats over parliament’s decision to recognise the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as a “genocide”, a lawmaker told AFP on Sunday.

The lawmaker, who counts among MPs given police protection, and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said security officers have been assigned to accompany them since Saturday.

The measure came following a round of “security discussions” with federal police, the source said.

Police declined comment.

The Bundestag vote last week over the World War 1-era massacre has sunk ties between Turkey and Germany to a low, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacting furiously over the parliamentary decision.

Erdogan charged that the 11 German MPs with Turkish roots who backed the resolution supported “terrorism” by the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), and demanded that they undergo “blood tests” to see “what kind of Turks they are”.

Parliament speaker Norbert Lammert had during the vote itself revealed that MPs had received death threats.

Greens chief Cem Ozdemir, who counted among those who initiated the resolution, had earlier already been given police protection.

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.