German officials defied a historical refusal to use the term “genocide” to describe the massacre of 1.5 million Aremnians at the hands of Ottoman Turkish forces 100 years ago.
Germany, home to millions of Turks, is also Turkey’s top trading partner in the European Union. Germany, along with France, Pope Francis, and the European Parliament, have recently used the word “geoncide.” The word genocide has been condemned by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
Steffan Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, said that the German government would support a resolution in parliament on Friday declaring the massacre as an example of genocide.
Seibert reported: “The government backs the draft resolution… in which the fate of the Armenians during World War One serves as an example of the history of mass murders, ethnic cleansings, expulsions, and, yes, the genocides during the 20th century.”
Turkey offically denies that the killing constitutes genocide. Government officials claim that there was no organized campaign to wipe out Armenians, and that there is no evidence any such orders were given by Ottoman authorities.
During an ARD TV interview on Sunday, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier rejected using the word genocide, claiming: “Responsibility can’t be reduced to a single term.”
Many pundits claim that Germany’s reluctance to the use the word genocide in the past came from it’s inability to fully come to terms with the Holocaust it was responsible for. Many believe that the use of the word now shows that the government isn’t afraid of upsetting Turkey, or the millions of Germans of Turkish origin.