BERLIN—Ankara has invited more than a hundred leaders to join commemorations of the Battle of Gallipoli this year on April 24, in an attempt to overshadow the commemorations of the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The German government has announced that it will only be sending its Secretary of Defense Markus Grübel to the Gallipoli commemorations, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Joachim Gauck indicated they would not participate in the event, with President Gauck signaling that he will be attending commemorations of the Armenian Genocide in Berlin on April 24 instead.
Until now, Turkey has traditionally commemorated the Battle of Gallipoli on March 18. Remembering the Gallipoli Campaign has never been scheduled for April 24 until this year, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) decided to mark the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign on April 24, the same day that Armenians will mourn the mass killings of their ancestors during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, in 1915.
Rather than visit Turkey as part of the Gallipoli commemorations, President Gauck has instead chosen to stay in Berlin to participate in the 100th anniversary commemorative events for the Armenian Genocide. Gauck will attend the spiritual ceremony being organized at the Berlin Oberpfarr and Dom Church and will make a speech to commemorate the tragic events that took place against the Armenians under Ottoman rule.
It has not yet been determined whether Gauck will call the Armenian Genocide by name. The statement released by the German Presidency says, “Joining the ceremony to be held in Berlin, the German President will commemorate the grief that Armenians and other Christian minorities passed through in the Ottoman Empire.” This will make Gauck the first German president to join any such event commemorating the Armenian Genocide.