BRUSSELS—AGBU Europe recently congratulated the Swedish Parliament for acknowledging the genocides committed against the Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and Pontic Greeks during World War I.
The Swedish Parliament adopted the resolution by a vote of 131 to 130 on Thurs., March 11. In response, Turkey withdrew its ambassador and cancelled its prime minister’s scheduled visit.
“Sweden often strives to reconcile effectiveness and ethics in its relations with the 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.
The vote came on the heels of another vote on March 4 in the U.S. House of Foreign Affairs Committee that also acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. The resolution passed in spite of heavy pressure from Turkey. The Turkish government also recalled their ambassador to the United States in response.
Opponents to the resolution in the U.S. 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 it is misguided on the part of European countries or of the U.S. to yield to the demands of a fellow NATO member, EU candidate country, and self-declared friend to conceal the truth. Turkish society is in the process of discovering the truth about their country’s past. We are doing them no favor if we oblige them in their historic taboos, especially when their own society is challenging them.
Turkey signed a protocol with Armenia on Oct. 10, 2009 that was intended to lead to the normalization of relations between the two countries after a 17-year blockade of Armenia by Turkey. The latter then reneged on its commitment and subjected ratification of the agreement to further conditions. The process is widely considered to be 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.