BERLIN, June 2 (UPI) -- Turkey recalled its ambassador in Berlin after German lawmakers approved a resolution declaring the World War I mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a genocide.
Ambassador Huseyin Avni Karslioglu is expected to travel back to Turkey on Thursday, after the German Parliament declared the 1915-16 killings of some 1.5 million Armenians a deliberate act of ethnic cleansing. Germany's ambassador to Turkey has also been summoned.
The move comes just hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of "repercussions" from the vote. The German resolution is considered a touchy one for long-term relations between the two countries.
Turkey has long rejected the label, saying there was no systematic killings of Christian Armenians and the death toll was much lower. The country has accepted some responsibility for the killings but said they do not constitute genocide. To date, 11 of the 28 European Union nations have recognized the killings as genocide.
Speaking on a state visit to Kenya, Erdogan said the vote will "seriously affect" ties between the two countries.
"If Germany is to be deceived by this, then bilateral, diplomatic, economic, trade, political and military ties -- we are both NATO countries -- will be damaged," Erdogan said before leaving Turkey for Africa.
Turkish media is reporting lawmakers are preparing a written rebuke in Parliament. Already members of the Turkish Parliament's foreign relations commission said they "strongly condemn and reject this bill falsifying historical facts about 1915 events," adding it is "contrary to international and European case-law".
Merkel is depending on Turkey to help curb the flow of migrants into Germany. Under an agreement struck earlier this year, Turkey agreed to take in migrants, including Syrians, arriving in Greece in return for aid from the European Union and an agreement to allow Turks visa-free travel through most of Europe. Germany accepted some 1.1 million migrants in the past year, the largest amount among any EU country.