AGBU Europe Welcomes Rcognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Parliament of Sweden

12 March 2010

AGBU Europe congratulates the Parliament of Sweden for acknowledging the genocides committed against the Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and Pontic Greeks during the First World War.

The Parliament of Sweden acknowledged the Armenian Genocide by a vote of 131 to 130 on Thursday 11 March. In response, Turkey withdrew its Ambassador and cancelled Prime Minister Erdogan’s scheduled visit.

Sweden usually strives to reconcile effectiveness and ethics in its relations with the outside world. We applaud it for its principled and constructive stance on the genocide. The truth will set us all free.” said Nicolas Tavitian, of AGBU Europe.

This vote comes on the heels of another vote, last Thursday (March 4), in the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which also acknowledged the Armenian genocide. The resolution passed in spite of heavy pressure from Turkey; the Turkish government recalled their ambassador to the United States.

Opponents to the resolution in the US most often justified their stance on the basis of Turkey’s strategic importance to the United States. They also argue that Turkey may now refuse to open its border with Armenia.

AGBU Europe believes that it is misguided on the part of European countries or the US to accept to be induced into sacrificing the truth by a fellow NATO member, EU candidate country and self-declared friend. Turkish society is in the process of discovering the truth about their country’s past. We are doing them no favour by obliging in their historic taboos precisely when their own society is challenging them.

Turkey signed a protocol with Armenia on October 10, 2009 that was intended to lead to the normalization of relations between the two countries. The country then reneged on its commitment and subjected ratification of the agreement to further conditions.

The process is widely considered blocked in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The recognition of the genocide in Sweden and the United States is a useful signal to Turkey that it needs to radically rethink its policy towards the Republic of Armenia and towards Armenians generally and to urgently complete the normalization process.