Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

To date, 21 countries have officially recognized the massacres of Armenians committed by Ottoman Empire between 1915-1923 as genocide.

International organizations

There is general agreement among historians that the events constituted genocide. Several international organizations, conducting studies of the events, have determined that the term "genocide" aptly describes "the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915–1918." [ Turkey Recalls Envoys Over Armenian Genocide] , "International Center for Transitional Justice", May 8, 2006] Among the organizations asserting this conclusion are the International Center for Transitional Justice, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, [ [ Letter] from the International Association of Genocide Scholars to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, June 13, 2005] and the United Nations' Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. [ International Center for Transitional Justice] , " [ Armeniapedia] "]

In 2007, [ The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity] produced a letter signed by 53 Nobel Laureates re-affirming the Genocide Scholars' conclusion that the 1915 killings of Armenians constituted genocide. [ [ Nobel Laureates Call For Armenian-Turkish Reconciliation] , Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, April 10, 2007] Wiesel's organization also asserted that Turkish acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide would create no legal "basis for reparations or territorial claims", anticipating Turkish anxieties that it could prompt financial or territorial claims.


Although there has been much academic recognition of the Armenian Genocide, this has not always been followed by governmental and media recognition. Many governments, including the governments of Israel, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Georgia, do not officially use the word "genocide" to describe these events. Furthermore, 42 of the 50 U.S. states have made individual proclamations recognizing the events of 1915 to 1923 as genocide. [The 42 states of the United States recognizing the Armenian Genocide are:

* Alaska
* Arizona
* Arkansas
* California
* Colorado
* Connecticut
* Delaware
* Florida
* Georgia
* Idaho
* Illinois
* Kansas
* Kentucky
* Louisiana
* Maine
* Maryland
* Massachusetts
* Michigan
* Minnesota
* Missouri
* Montana
* Nebraska
* Nevada
* New Hampshire
* New Jersey
* New Mexico
* New York
* North Carolina
* North Dakota
* Ohio
* Oklahoma
* Oregon
* Pennsylvania
* Rhode Island
* South Carolina
* Texas
* Tennessee
* Utah
* Vermont
* Virginia
* Washington
* Wisconsin
Source: [ Armenian National Institute] ]

First, in 2001, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec independently of their federal government, then, in 2004, the government of Canada itself recognized the Armenian Genocide. [cite web | url= | title=Recognition and Commemoration of Armenian Genocide | author=Sen Serge Joyal, PC, OC, OQ | date=June 7 2001 ] The Parliament of the State of New South Wales, Australia passed a resolution acknowledging and condemning the Armenian Genocide in 1997. [cite web | url= | title=Armenian Diaspora in Australia | author=Kamer Kasim | work=The Journal of Turkish Weekly | date=October 13 2004 | accessdate=2007-04-24 ]

In recent years, parliaments of several countries, including France and Switzerland, have formally recognized the event as genocide. Turkish entry talks with the European Union were met with a number of calls to consider the event as genocide, [cite news | url= | title=Turkey 'must admit Armenia dead' | work=BBC News Online | date=December 13 2004 ] [cite news | url= | title=French in Armenia 'genocide' row | work=BBC News Online | date=12 October 2006 ] [cite news | url= | title=Cyprus government condemns Armenian genocide | work=Financial Mirror | date=24 April 2007 ] though it never became a precondition.

Countries officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide include:

* [cite news | url= | title=NYC Commemorates 92nd Anniversary of Armenian Genocide | work=The Knight News | date=March 29 2007 ]
* [cite news | url= | title=Ankara to renew diplomatic action on Armenia | work=Today's Zaman | date=April 14 2007 | author=Lale Sariibrahimoglu ]
*cite news | url= | | title=Harper affirms Canadian position on Armenian Genocide | date=2006 (April 18?) ]
*cite news | url= | title=Armenia hopes reconstruction of Surb Khach Armenian Church in Turkey not to be single case | work=ARKA News Agency | date=March 29 2004 ]
*cite news | | url= | title=Canadian Parliament recognizes Armenian Genocide | date=April 25 2004 ]
* [cite news | work=Yerkir | url= | title=Chile Senate recognizes Armenian Genocide | date=June 7 2007 ]
* [cite news | url= | title=Armenians mark anniversary of 1915 genocide | work=Middle East Times | date=April 24 2007 | author=Mariam Harutunian ]

A major obstacle for wider recognition of the genocide in the world is the position of Turkey, which denies that genocide or even massacres ever took place and insists any deaths were a side-effect of the World War I casualties. Azerbaijan, as an ally of Turkey and in a state of war against Armenia, shares the position of Turkey. Israel and Denmark believe that the genocide recognition should be discussed by historians not politicians. [cite news | url= | title=No Policy Change over "Armenian Genocide": Israel | date=May 02 2000 ] [cite news | url= | title=(AFP)Denmark does not recognise Armenian genocide: minister | date=January 10 2008 ] There was a move by activists in Bulgaria to acknowledge the genocide, but it was voted down. [cite news | url= | title=Bulgarian Parliament Rejected Armenian Genocide Recognition Bill | date=January 10 2008 ] Position of the UK is that it condemns the massacres, but did not find them qualified enough under 1948 UN Convention on Genocide to call them "genocide" and did not believe the UN Convention rules could be applied retroactively. [cite news | url= | title=Armeniangenocide - epetition Government's response; | date=December 07 2007 ] On June 12 2008, the Swedish Parliament rejected a bill recognising the events as genocide.cite news | url= | title= - Swedish Parliament Refuses to Recognize Armenian Genocide | date=June 12 2008 ]


Many newspapers for a long time would not use the word "genocide" without disclaimers such as "alleged" and many continue to do so. A number of those policies have since been reversed. [cite web | url= | title=Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ06) — Pallone Calls on House Republican Leaders to Allow Floor Vote on Armenian Genocide Legislation | author=Rep Frank Pallone, Jr. | date=April 28 2004 | accessdate = 2007-04-24 ]

Recent developments

On 9 September 2004, President Mohammad Khatami of Iran visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial at Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan. [ [ International Affirmation and Recognition of the Armenian Genocide] , "", April 2005]

On June 15, 2005 the German Bundestag passed a resolution that "honors and commemorates the victims of violence, murder and expulsion among the Armenian people before and during the First World War". The [ German resolution] also states: "The German parliament deplores the acts of the Government of the Ottoman Empire regarding the almost complete destruction of Armenians in Anatolia and also the inglorious role of the German Reich in the face of the organized expulsion and extermination of Armenians which it did not try to stop. Women, children and elderly were from February 1915 sent on death marches towards the Syrian desert."

The expressions 'organized expulsion and extermination' resulting in the 'almost complete destruction of Armenians' is sufficient in any language to amount to formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, although of course the crime of 'genocide' had not been legally defined in 1915. The Resolution also contains an apology for German responsibility. [ Bundestag resolution] , Armenian National Institute, June 15 2005]

In 2006, the French parliament submitted a bill to create a law that would punish any person denying the Armenian genocide with up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 45,000. [fr icon [ Proposition de loi complétant la loi n° 2001-70 du 29 janvier 2001 relative à la reconnaissance du génocide arménien de 1915] , National Assembly of France, 12 April 2006] Despite Turkish protests, the French National Assembly adopted a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. [fr icon [ legislative file] of the French National Assembly; [ vote tally] ] The bill has been criticized as an attempt to garner votes from among the 500,000 ethnic Armenians of France. [cite web | url= | title=Accusation of an attempt to garner votes | work=BBC News Online | accessdate=2007-02-07 ] This criticism has come not only from within Turkey,cite news | | url= | title=French politicians pass Armenian genocide bill | date=October 12 2006 ] but also from independent sources, such as Orhan Pamuk, Hrant Dink, former French President Jacques Chirac and U.S. diplomat Daniel Fried. [tr icon [ Orhan Pamuk Fransa'yi kinadi] , "Internet Haber", 13 October 2006] Dubious|date=March 2008

On 10 May 2006, the Bulgarian Government rejected a bill on recognition of the Armenian Genocide. [ [ Bulgarian Parliament Rejected Armenian Genocide Recognition Bill] , "Pan-Armenian Network", 1 April 2006] This came after Emel Etem Toshkova, the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and one of the leaders of the MRF, the main Turkish party in Bulgaria, declared that her party would walk out of the coalition government if the bill was passed. The bill itself was brought forward by the nationalist Ataka party.

International bodies that recognise the Armenian genocide include the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the World Council of Churches and the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal.

On 4 September 2006, Members of the European Parliament voted for the inclusion of a clause prompting Turkey "to recognise the Armenian genocide as a condition for its EU accession" in a highly critical report, which was adopted by a broad majority in the foreign relations committee of the European Parliament. [ [ MEPs back Armenia genocide clause in Turkey report] , Lucia Kubosova, "EU Observer", 5 September 2006] [cite web | url= | title=Parliament faces crucial enlargement decisions | work=EurActiv] This requirement was later dropped on 27 September 2006 by the general assembly of the European Parliament by 429 votes in favor to 71 against, with 125 abstentions. [ [] ] In dropping the pre-condition of acceptance of the Armenian genocide, (which could not be legally demanded of Turkey), The European Parliament said: “MEPs nevertheless stress that, although the recognition of the Armenian genocide as such is formally not one of the Copenhagen criteria, it is indispensable for a country on the road to membership to come to terms with and recognise its past.”

On September 26, 2006, the two largest political parties in the Netherlands, Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Labour Party (PvdA), removed three Turkish-Dutch candidates for the 2006 general election, because they either denied or refused to publicly declare that the Armenian Genocide had happened. The magazine "HP/De Tijd" reported that the number 2 of the PvdA list of candidates, Nebahat Albayrak (who was born in Turkey and is of Turkish descent) had acknowledged that the term "genocide" was appropriate to describe the events. Albayrak denied having said this and accused the press of putting words in her mouth, saying that "I'm not a politician that will trample my identity. I've always defended the same views everywhere with regard to the 'genocide'". [ [ ‘I did not say proved genocide took place’] , "Turkish Daily News", October 9 2006] It was reported that a large section of the Turkish minority were considering boycotting the elections. [cite news | title=Turkish to boycott election over Armenian 'genocide' | url= | work=Expatica News | date=October 5 2006 ] Netherlands' Turkish minority numbers 365,000 people, out of which 235,000 are eligible to vote.

On November 29, 2006, the lower house of Argentina's parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The bill was overwhelmingly adopted by the assembly and declared April 24, the international day of remembrance for the Armenian genocide as an official "day of mutual tolerance and respect" among peoples around the world.

On July 17, 2006, the Brazilian state of Ceará became the second state after São Paulo to ratify a bill recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

On March 8, 2007, Turkish nationalist Doğu Perinçek became the first person convicted by a court of law for denying the Armenian Genocide, found guilty by a Swiss district court in Lausanne. Perinçek appealed the verdict. [cite news | title=Turkish politician fined over genocide denial | date=March 9, 2007 | work=Swissinfo with agencies | url= ] The conviction was upheld by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court on December 12, 2007. [Decision no. [ 6B_398/2007] Fr icon]

On April 20, 2007, the Basque Parliament approved an institutional declaration recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The Basque Parliament included six articles where it affirms the authenticity of the Armenian Genocide and declares sympathy to the Armenians, while at the same time denouncing Turkey's negation of the genocide and its economic blockade imposed on Armenia. [es icon cite web | title=En el 90.º aniversario del genocidio armenio | date=2007-04-27 | publisher=Basque Parliament | url='08110500003320070427016312'&R=N | accessdate=2007-05-12 ]

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League has been criticized by Robert Spencer for not acknowledging the Armenian genocide due to fear of worsening relations between Israel and the republic of Turkey.cite news | author=Robert Spencer | title=Abe Foxman’s Fear | url= | work=FrontPage Magazine | date=2007-09-04 | accessdate=2007-09-05 ] On August 21, 2007, the Anti-Defamation League recognized the Armenian Genocide as "tantamount to genocide," following their controversial refusal to support the proposed recognition by Representative Adam Schiff. [ ADL Statement on the Armenian Genocide] , Abraham H. Foxman, Anti-Defamation League, August 21, 2007.] [ [ Under pressure, ADL admits: Turks' Armenian massacre was genocide] , Shmuel Rosner, "Haaretz", August 22, 2007]

The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved HR 106, a bill that categorised and condemned the Ottoman Empire for the Genocide, on October 10, 2007, by a 27-21 vote. However, some of the support for the bill from both Democrats and Republicans eroded after the White House warned against the possibility of Turkey restricting airspace as well as ground-route access for US military and humanitarian efforts in Iraq in response to the bill. [ [ Bush opposes Armenian genocide measure] , Desmond Butler, "Associated Press", October 10, 2007] Passage of the bill is currently in doubt.

In response to the House Foreign Affairs Committee's decision on the bill, Turkey ordered their ambassador to the United States to return to Turkey for "consultations." [ [,2933,301221,00.html Turkey Recalls Ambassador to U.S. Over Armenian Genocide Bill] , "Associated Press", October 11, 2007.]

On November 23, 2007, the Mercosur parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the “Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, which took 1.5 million lives from 1915 to 1923.” The Mercosur resolution also expressed its support for the Armenian Cause and called on all countries to recognize the Genocide. [ [ Mercosur recognizes the Armenian Genocide] ]

On June 12, 2008, the Swedish parliament, with a vote 245 to 37 (1 abstain, 66 absent), rejected a call for recognition of the 1915 genocide in the Ottoman Empire. On June 11, a long debate took place in the Swedish Parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish Government and Parliament to officially recognize the 1915.

ee also

*United States resolution on Armenian genocide


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