German president labels Armenian killings as genocide

AP News
Posted: Apr 23, 2015 3:04 PM
German president labels Armenian killings as genocide

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's president has described the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide — marking a shift in his country's stance after officials previously avoided the term.

President Joachim Gauck said at a nondenominational service Thursday marking the centenary of the killings that the Armenians' fate is "exemplary for the history of mass destruction, ethnic cleansing, expulsions and genocides which mark the 20th century in such a terrible way."

Germany's Parliament will debate a motion with the same words on Friday, a formulation that the government has backed.

Turkey has lobbied fiercely to prevent countries from recognizing the massacres as genocide. It recalled its ambassador to the Vatican after Pope Francis used the term and its ambassador to Austria after lawmakers in Vienna did so.