Germany plans for the first time to officially recognize the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Turkish regime 100 years ago as genocide, according to Bloomberg.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition will vote on April 24 to label the murders as genocide as defined by the United Nations in 1948. The lower house vote is on the same day as leaders meet in the Armenian capital of Yerevan to commemorate the massacre that began in April 1915.
Germany’s ruling parties plan in their resolution to “find a formulation which states the fact that a genocide took place in Turkey,” Franz Josef Jung, deputy faction leader of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said in a statement Monday.
Germany has been under pressure from some of its European partners to follow their example and more fully recognize the depth of the Armenian tragedy. Germany maintains that the onus is on Turkey to publicly come to terms with its past actions, as Germany did with the Holocaust. Turkey recognizes the killings, while rejecting the genocide label.
While it’s “very important” that Turks and Armenians reconcile over the killings, “such a coming to terms with the past can’t be forced on someone from abroad — it’s a domestic issue,” Christiane Wirtz, a government spokeswoman, told reporters last week.
“Merkel’s government faces a difficult balancing act in voting on the measure, while trying to not further antagonize Turkey. Germany is Turkey’s biggest trading partner in the European Union, its biggest foreign investor and home to the largest group of Turks outside the country,” Bloomberg writes.