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Turkey discussing 'countermeasures' against Germany after Armenia vote - official

Demonstrators wave Turkish flags in front of the Reichstag, the seat of the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, June 1, 2016, as they protest against a disputed vote in Germany's parliament on Thursday, on a resolution that labels the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is discussing countermeasures against Germany after its lawmakers voted to label the 1915 mass killings of Armenians an act of genocide, a Turkish official said on Wednesday, adding Berlin should distance itself from the resolution.

German lawmakers this month voted overwhelmingly to endorse the resolution, infuriating Turkey, which rejects the view that the killings of Christian Armenians by Ottoman forces during World War One amounted to genocide.

“Countermeasures are being discussed,” the official said, at a briefing to members of the foreign media in Istanbul, declining to be identified. He did not give details about what kind of measures Ankara could take.

Ruling party officials have previously said Ankara’s response would likely be kept in check by economic reality. Germany is Turkey’s top export market, accounting for $13.4 billion in exports last year.

It is also home to more than 3 million Turks. Those ties - as well as talks with the European Union to end the migrant crisis and give Turks visa-free travel to Europe - are unlikely to be permanently damaged.

The official also said Turkey has so far met 67 of 72 criteria required by Europe to secure long-coveted visa-free travel to the bloc.

Under the migrant deal hammered out between Turkey and Germany, Turkey gets visa-free travel, accelerated EU accession talks and aid in return for stemming the flow of migrants. But the visa-free travel deal has hit an impasse over Turkey’s anti-terrorism law, which some in Europe say is too broad.

“Everything is on the right track,” the official said about the talks. “It is never a rose garden. There are always ups and downs.”

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Janet Lawrence