German President Joachim Gauck described the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians 100 years ago by Ottoman Turks as a "genocide," and said Germany, an ally of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, bore some responsibility.
"The fate of the Armenians stands as exemplary in the history of mass exterminations, ethnic cleansing, deportations, and yes, genocide, which marked the 20th century in such a terrible way," Gauck said during a church service in Berlin. Turkey rejects the use of the word "genocide," arguing that the number of deaths is inflated and that many were caused by World War I. "To reduce everything to a single word, to put responsibility through generalizations on the Turkish nation alone... is legally and morally problematic," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
A memorial service will be held on Friday in Turkey to mark the anniversary, and Davutoglu said the country will "share the pain" of Armenians.
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