Germany expected to officially say ‘Armenian Genocide’

Group leaders of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the two parties that form the coalition government in Germany, have reportedly agreed to use the expressions ‘the fate of the Armenians constitutes an example of the history of deportation an genocide’ in the ‘Armenian Resolution’ to be presented on April 24, 2015, Friday, at the German Federal Assembly. The government is also expected to back the resolution.

According to the report of Celal Özcan from Hürriyet, the joint statement by the coalition parties will read as follows:

“In this resolution, we would like to draw attention to the fact that, on 24 April 1915, by orders of the Young Turk regime of the time, the planned deportation and massacre of more than a million ethnic Armenians began in Ottoman Constantinople. Their fate constitutes an example of the terrible mass murder, ethnic cleansing, deportation and genocide history of the 20th century. We also express our awareness of the unique nature of the Holocaust (the Jewish Genocide) and that Germany bears the crime and responsibility of it.”

Steffen Seibert, Germany Cabinet Spokesman, in a statement regarding the matter, stated that they will support the declaration. This will then mean that the government of Germany has officially accepted ‘genocide’ as a definition for the Armenian Genocide. The government of Germany had for many years refused to call the Armenian Genocide a genocide, however, it is believed that pressure from members of parliament has led to this decision.

Last week, Foreign Minister of Germany Frank Walter Steinmeier had warned against reducing the question to the concept of genocide and had used the word ‘massacre’. Steinmeier, in a statement to Süddeutsche Zeitung, had said, ‘One may sum up the events of the period under the concept of genocide, and I can very well understand the reasons and certainly the feelings for that’. However, Foreign Minister Steinmeier and Prime Minister Merkel were believed to be anxious about a potential diplomatic crisis with Turkey if the 1915 events were officially defined as genocide.

President will attend mass in memory of Genocide victims

On the other hand, on Thursday night, President Joachim Gauck will attend mass to be held at the Berlin Cathedral by German churches in commemoration. Political analysts report that it is unlikely that President Gauck will shun the world ‘genocide’ in the short speech he will make here. Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer stated that the President’s Office and the Foreign Ministry had held talks on the issue. Chancellor Merkel and Cabinet Spokesman Steffen Seibert stated that the government was in favour of the commission of historians first set up by Turkey and Armenia to resume work, and of reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia.

Arınç: We will respond

Deputy Prime Minister, responding to questions from the press regarding Germany’s decision following a Cabinet meeting said: “Parliaments may take such decisions. We have answers to give for all of them”.


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