German President Joachim Gauck could use the word “genocide” at a memorial service at the Berlin Cathedral on Thursday, April 23, according to the German Tages Spiegel.
According to the paper, for weeks, the centre-right alliance and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) have debated whether to clearly define the 1915 Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire as genocide.
At the invitation of Christian churches in Germany, Gauck will participate in an ecumenical service on 23 April in the Berlin Cathedral, in remembrance of the “genocide perpetrated against Armenians, Arameans and Greeks of Pontos”.
Following the ceremony, the German President will make a brief speech. In coalition circles, his acceptance, alone, has been interpreted as a clear sign that Gauck will call the genocide by name, without respect for diplomatic considerations.
In that case, the centre-right alliance and SPD will face the threat of disgrace. On the following day, the 100th anniversary of the genocide, the coalition plans to introduce and discuss the toned-down version of its request in the Bundestag. Shortly after, the Green and Left parties will accuse the coalition of moral cowardice and opportunism, in all probability referring to the President’s words in the same breath.