NEW YORK—On Tues., July 7, the Socialist International (SI) Council, during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, decided to take action on the issue of the Armenian Genocide.
SI Secretary General Luis Ayala informed the council that for the last two days, the SI leadership has been consulting with SI member parties from Armenia (Armenian Revolutionary Federation, ARF) and Turkey (People’s Republican Party, CHP) to come to an agreement on the agenda item that was passed on from the last council meeting in Geneva: “The views of the Socialist International on the issue of the Armenian Genocide, considering its recognition by a number of national parliaments and supranational institutions.”
Ayala informed the council that an agreement had been reached. He thanked the SI vice-presidents from Armenia (Mario Nalpatian, ARF) and Turkey (Umut Oran, CHP) for their contributions and for reaching an agreement, which was presented to the council for adoption.
Ayala said that on the occasion of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, Socialist International was eager to take action and to organize a hearing or a roundtable discussion with the participation of member parties from Turkey and Armenia, as well as any other willing SI member party, along with civil society members and intellectuals from both Armenia and Turkey on the following question: “Would Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide allow for genuine reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia?” Ayala went on to say that the conclusions from the discussion will be distributed worldwide and reported to the next SI Council.
The SI Council unanimously adopted the decision. Following the adoption, Giro Manoyan, a member of the ARF Bureau who also participated in the council meeting, delivered the following statement.
Dear Secretary General,
We welcome the inclusion of the issue of the Armenian Genocide on the agenda of this SI Council meeting.
We do not consider this issue to be a dispute on a historical event, although that is exactly what the official Turkish policy of denial would want us to believe.
The official Turkish policy of denial is part and parcel of a comprehensive, hostile policy against Armenia and the Armenian people being implemented for over a century in Turkey and around the world through different actions, including the illegal land blockade against Armenia for the last 22 years.
I do not wish to go into the historical details of the Armenian Genocide, because there is ample evidence in the archives of not only the countries which were at war with Turkey during World War I, but also in the archives of Turkey’s major wartime ally Germany, and of course in the archives of Turkey itself, even after major clean-ups until the opening of those archives, and regardless of the fact that the archives of the armed forces and of the registry of real estate, the cadaster, of that period are still not open.
I want to comment on [the question of] why the Socialist International should adopt a proactive position on this issue.
Because that would help in the democratization of Turkey. The international recognition of the Armenian Genocide by different countries and supranational organizations has helped progressive political forces, civil society circles, and human rights advocates in Turkey to come to terms with their history by acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and seeking justice for this systematic campaign of destruction of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Pontians upon their historical homelands.
The Socialist International should adopt a position on this issue because a number of its member parties—particularly in countries that are NATO allies with Turkey—have adopted a position in favor of recognition of the Armenian Genocide and have done so as an expression of genuine friendship with Turkey to help it come to terms with its own history. Furthermore, the IUSY [International Union of Socialist Youth] council and the bureau of the YES [Young European Socialists] recently adopted resolutions on the issue.
Last but not least, the Socialist International should adopt a position on this issue because it has member parties in both Turkey and Armenia and can be helpful in fostering dialogue between them not on the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, but rather on trying to find a just resolution to the Armenian Genocide issue by helping the government of Turkey stop its policy of denial of this historic fact and to acknowledge its responsibility. By doing so, the Socialist International would be instrumental in efforts for genuine reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and the Armenian people worldwide in a spirit of truth, respect, and justice.
I believe such international positive impact in Turkey on the issue of the Armenian Genocide is the main reason why three of the four main political parties represented in the Turkish Parliament decided to have at least one ethnic Armenian candidate on their lists and now all three of them have ethnic Armenian members of parliament, which is unprecedented during the Republic of Turkey’s history.
In order to be part of these positive developments, the Socialist International should adopt a progressive and proactive position on the Armenian Genocide.
And the decision made today here is in that direction.
The meeting of the Council of the Socialist International began on Mon., July 5 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The council addressed matters central to the concerns of the ARF movement and of the international community, including security, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change, and the forthcoming COP21 summit that is taking place later this year.
The ARF delegation was comprised of ARF representative to the SI Mario Nalpatian, Giro Manoyan, ARF Eastern U.S. Central Committee member Aram Hovagimian, and Armenian Weekly editor Nanore Barsoumian.
The Socialist International is the worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist, and labor parties. It currently brings together 170 political parties and organizations from all continents. George Papandreou, the former prime minister of Greece, is the president of the organization; Luis Ayala, from Chile, is the secretary general.
In September 1996, the ARF rejoined the Socialist International, which it had originally joined in 1907. In 2003, the ARF became a full member of the Socialist International, thus becoming the only party in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with such a status. The ARF also recently became an observer member of the Party of European Socialists (PES).
The ARF Women’s Group is a member of the SIW (Socialist International Women). The youth organization of the ARF, the Armenian Youth Federation, is a full member of the IUSY and YES.