This issue, in one form or another, has been around for a long time in Germany. It must be understood that the interpretation of the 1915 events in the Ottoman Empire now turned into an instrument of political bargaining and blackmail. I am deeply convinced that many members of parliament, who voted "for", have very vague understanding of what happened in 1915 and in subsequent years in the Ottoman Empire and what was Germany's role in these processes. It can be interpreted as a "punishment" of Erdogan. Prior to that, a powerful propaganda campaign, aimed personally against Erdogan and accompanying by personal insults addressed to Turkish President, took place in the German media. It should be noted that a personal insult against the head of an ally state, in Germany is called a “manifestation of freedom of expression". I think some circles in Europe, when convenient, tend to expand the concept of "freedom of speech" in their favor. Berlin is unhappy with Erdogan for several reasons. First of all, it is the issue of migrants, Berlin would like Turkey to keep all migrants in its territory and settle for financial handouts from Europe. Erdogan made it clear that if the Europeans want him to do the "heavy lifting", then they will not get away with just handouts for the maintenance of refugees.
Second of all, the Kurdish issue. Germany has a large number of organizations, the media and funds that provide logistical, ideological, informational and financial support to the PKK. Of course the German secret service knows it; such an extensive network cannot function without the knowledge of the security services and consent of the authorities. Since the mid-1990s Berlin began to establish relations with the Kurds through various channels. Probably being late with the division of geopolitical influence in the Middle East, the Germans decided to compensate for this, by including a number of Kurdish organizations in its arsenal. Over the past few years, the German activity in this area has dramatically increased. Supplying the Iraqi Kurds with modern weapons by bypassing Baghdad, opening of the consulate in Erbil, and a number of other steps toward the Kurdish groups, hostile to Turkey, all are the links in same chain. Against this background, the Turkish campaign against Kurdish militants (including in Iraq) could not help but cause dissatisfaction of Berlin. Merkel could not calmly watch as Erdogan crushes what Berlin has been creating for such a long time. All these factors play a role in the recognition of the events in 1915 as genocide. I do not think that the matter will be limited to this; I think these developments will be followed by further steps from Germany.
Turkey should develop a clear strategy for a specific confrontation of this slander. So far, the actions of the Turkish authorities are of sporadic, spontaneous nature, which is a fundamental mistake. It is necessary to radically reconsider their approach to this issue. Ankara’s calls for the establishment of a joint commission are terribly old-fashioned and have no effect. Since the issue of the events of 1915 became a political one, then an attitude toward it must change as well.
Ali Hajizade, Contributor, Strategic Outlook
political scientist, head of the project "The Great Middle East"