Armenian Genocide Back in German School Curriculum

BERLIN (DPA)–Defusing a possible fiasco after Turkish pressure forced the removal of the Armenian genocide from German public school curriculums–a state premier said on Tuesday the 1915 killings of up to 1.5 million Armenia’s would be again be taught in history classes.

Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck admitted it had been a mistake to remove all mention of the genocide from his state’s education ministry website curriculum planner.

The Armenian genocide–which had been used as the only example in history classes other than the Holocaust–will now be returned to high schools along with other cases of 20th century genocide–he said.

Platzeck denied media reports that he ordered removal of the Armenian genocide from his schools after strong pressure from a Turkish diplomat.

"None of that happened," said Platzeck.

Platzeck made his announcement after a meeting with Armenia’s ambassador to Germany–Karine Kazinian–who expressed deep anger over the move.

"The key point is that the genocide and everything that happened back then is being clearly addressed," said Ambassador Kazinian.

The row began last month after Turkey’s Consul in Berlin–Aydin Durusay–raised the issue of the Armenian genocide in connection to Brandenburg–which is so far the only one of Germany’s 16 federal states–which described the killings as "genocide" in its official public school curriculum.

Most European and US historians agree–however–that up to 1.5 million Armenia’s were systematically massacred and deported by the Ottoman Turks during World War I.

Eight European Union (EU) parliamen’s including France and the Netherlands–but not Germany–have passed resolutions declaring the deaths genocide.

With about two million resident ethnic Turks–Germany is cautious about any issue which could disturb ties with its biggest minority.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is a firm supporter of Turkey’s bid to join the EU.

Platzeck is a rising star in Chancellor’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) and is tipped by some as a possible successor to Schroeder.

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