Berlin (AINA) -- In a speech given at an ecumenical Church service of the Catholic and Evangelical Churches at the Cathedral in Berlin on Thursday 23rd April, German president Joachim Gauck described the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide, marking a shift in his country's stance that so far avoided the term.
President Gauck said:
We commemorate in this hour the hundreds of thousands members of the Armenian people, who have become victims of planned and systematic killings a century ago. Indiscriminately, men and women, children and old men were deported, sent on death marches, exposed to the desert without any protection and without any food, burned alive, hounded, beaten and shot to death. This planned and calculated criminal act faced the Armenians for one reason: because they were Armenians. Similarly, it hit their fellow sufferers, the Assyrians or Syriacs and the Pontic Greeks.
President Joachim Gauck said that "the fate of the Armenians is exemplary for the history of mass destruction, ethnic cleansing, expulsions and genocides which marks the 20th century in such a terrible way." Very likely, this phrase will be the in the center of a resolution which German lawmakers will debate in parliament on Friday, April 24th and are expected to endorse overwhelmingly.
Elaborating on the role of Germany who was allied with Turkey during the World War I, the President said "In this case we Germans must come to terms with the past regarding our shared responsibility, possibly shared guilt, for the genocide against the Armenians."