German Bundestag Recognizes Armenian Genocide

Bundestag’s Historic Vote Further Isolates Turkey, Shines Spotlight on Obama’s Complicity in Denial

The German Parliament on  June 2 approved a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide. The word “genocide” is used in both the text and headline of the resolution, which also states that Germany bears some guilt for its inaction at the time. Following the vote, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany “for consultations.”

A scene from German consideration of the Armenian Genocide
A scene from German consideration of the Armenian Genocide

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not present during the vote. Her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), as well as the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens supported the resolution.

With German affirmation of the crime, more than 25 countries have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Bundestag vote was nearly unanimous with only one opposed and two abstentions.  For over an hour leading up to the historic vote, German parliamentarians spoke in favor of the measure, which affirms the Armenian Genocide and crimes committed against other Christian minorities.

Armenian community leaders at the Bundestag during consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution
Armenian community leaders at the Bundestag during consideration of the Armenian Genocide resolution

 

Kaspar Karampetian, president of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD), welcomed the resolution. “It is a historic day, considering the Geman-Turkish alliance in those years. By recognizing the Armenian Genocide, the German Parliament, just as the Austrian Parliament did last year, could pave the way for Turkey to come to terms with its past and move forward,” said Karampetian. “Turkey is becoming more and more isolated in its politics of denialism. We congratulate the political groups CDU/CSU, SPD, and the Greens on the adoption of the resolution, in particular Cem Özdemir—the co-leader of the German Green Party, who played a crucial role, amidst all the pressure. It is a strong message, that all of the speakers emphasized the fact of the genocide, the German complicity in it, and the need for Turkey to recognize it.”

 

ANCA: Germany’s Genocide Recognition Shines Spotlight on Obama’s Complicity in Erdogan’s Denial

The German Bundestag’s historic vote officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide shines a global spotlight on U.S. President Barack Obama’s continued complicity in Turkey’s denial of the crime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“The Bundestag’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide—made all the more powerful by its honest reckoning with Germany’s own role in this still unpunished crime—further isolates Turkey, while shining a global spotlight on the Obama Administration as the leading international enabler of Ankara’s campaign of genocide denial,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “There is still time for President Obama to follow Germany’s lead, reject Turkey’s gag-rule, and speak honestly about the Armenian Genocide.”

Global spotlight is now on President Obama to speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide
Global spotlight is now on President Obama to speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide

Prior to his election, Obama was clear and unequivocal in promising to properly characterize Ottoman Turkey’s murder of more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children between 1915 and 1923 as genocide. In a Jan. 19, 2008 statement he wrote: “The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

President Obama has repeatedly broken that pledge in annual Armenian Remembrance Day statements issued on or near April 24th, the international day of commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The U.S. first recognized the genocide in 1951 through a filing that was included in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Report titled, “Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The specific reference to the Armenian Genocide appears on page 25 of the ICJ Report: “The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial, and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”

President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide in 1981. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation on the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984, and 1996.  This year, West Virginia became the 44th U.S. state to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Under congressional mandate, the United States, between 1915 and 1930, embarked on an unprecedented humanitarian campaign providing the equivalent of over $2 billion in today’s dollars to help save Armenian Genocide survivors.

The text of the measure (in German) is available at http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/18/086/1808613.pdf.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.

46 Comments

  1. President Obama is doing what he is told to do by those in the “Power Elite” that really run this country. Should we expect him to do the right thing?

    • If you want to. Speak of a “Power Elite” why not speak of the oligarchs in Armenia?

  2. Better late than never, as the saying goes. But Germany is, to some degree, clensing itself from the guilt, by saying that “it could have stopped the Genocide, but it didn’t”. In fact Germany took an active roll in assisting the turks with the Genocide by using heavy artillery against Armenian sectors when Armenians tried to defend themselves.
    Now the time is right for the remaining criminals of the western coalition.

  3. Germany’s recognition of the Genocide is much more important than
    Republican USA or Undemocratic USA …and cunning English parliaments…
    Scottish and Welch parliaments recognized Armenian genocide long ago.
    Because Germans and Ottoman’s were close allies before NATO …
    P. Obama …lost the chance to become second Abraham Lincoln …
    He played his games …fearing Turkish Scimitars …
    Re will definitely regret one day …if he is not regretted already …!!!

  4. Thank You Germany !! Now it’s time the United States followed suit. May God grant those souls lost at the hands of the barbarians, continued eternal rest and may perpetual light illuminate them.

  5. One more little tidbit from recent history, let us remember the individual, former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert who was responsible for not allowing the Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide to come to a vote is now in prison as a child molester.

  6. wonderbar,but what does it mean?is germany free of it’s own wrongs? it means nothing without those turks start to admit it also.

  7. Thanks Germany. Armenians will never forget the barbaric killings of innocent Armenians during the Ottoman Empire. Turkey must pay for it”s cruel deeds. The world is recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

  8. This is the beginning of the end of the Turkish state. Yes, the Germans were highly complicit in instigating the Turks to forcibly deport and mass murder the Armenians, but at least the Germans have the courage to acknowledge their part of guilt and call crimes by their proper names.

  9. Simply put….late 1800’s there were about ??2 million Christians (Armenians,Assyrians etc living mostly in Eastern Turkey,,,,fast forward to ?1923 or 1924 there were only ?a few hundred thousand Christians left in that area…..what happene to them,,,,did they migrate to Australia???????

  10. Hope that Turks (people not fascist governors) will understand that their governors can not deny that which 25 nations (upon now) recognize officially.
    Thank you Germany

  11. Germany shames America: As a presidential candidate, Barak Obama vowed that if elected he would recognize the Armenian Genocide as “genocide”. Then, as we all know, President Obama allowed himself to become a puppet of shadow forces steering the Agenda of American Foreign Policy. For 2 full terms he dutifully refrained from acknowledging the Armenian Genocide as required by his handlers. Ever since the coup d’état against JFK, followed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy orchestrated by internal forces within the USA, the image of America the Beautiful has been tarnished. Obama had 8 opportunities to do the right thing and come through on his promise. Now it is simply time to pack up the Statue of Liberty and send it to Berlin.

    • America the Beautiful was tarnished for a long because of slavery and racism. But those assassinations were definitely a dark moment for the country because it was about silencing the voice which spoke against hate dark thinking. Just like Hrant Dink.

  12. IT IS HIGH TIME PRESIDENT OBAMA TO NEGLECT POLITICAL AND MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS AND STICK TO JUSTICE1

  13. this is wonderful news. germany is joining france, another major country that has accepted the armenian genocide. yes it would be quite something if this lame u.s. president accepts the fact. but do we need every u.s. president from now on to acknowledge the genocide.
    pres. reagan said yes. should that not be enough. I believe 45 u.s. states said yes. is it not time to go to the international court at the hague and start proceedings for reparations. what is holding the process.

  14. 99 years ago, when the Djemal Pascha—with the advance of the British troops in Gaza, ordered the resettling of the population, including the Jewish population in Gaza. Oskar Cohn, a German-Jewish representative in the Reichstag stood up and demanded the German government to intervene. “To support a fellow representative,” as Cohn’s biographer, Ludger Heid, puts it, “the representatives of other factions” pressured the military to intervene. The evacuation order was rescinded.
    Today, just as back then, we do not have a representative in the German Parliament to stand up for us, but I am glad to see that the German Bundestag did not miss its opportunity to do the right thing. Albeit, too late!

    I am also glad that the German Bundestag did not make the same mistake as Merkel and did not “make Germany susceptible to blackmail,” as Spiegel in regard to Jan Böhmermann’s affair put it.

  15. while there is no hope for Hillary Clinton approving of the Genocide language, there is hope that Donald Trump would be enough of an independant mind to understand, to see that 44 states ARE the voice of America. Turkey is on the ropes….now IS the time to politically deal with them and their airbase threats. Support Kurds….Russians…Armenians- Drive the Turkish Government into their dark holes of anti-morality thinking.

    • I don’t have much of hope with Trump either. I don’t think Trump gives a crap. He has business interests in Azerbaijan and Turkey.

  16. This is big. Bigger than France. The BIGGEST ally of Turkey during the last 100 years declares Genocide. 3.5 million Turks living in Germany and the Bundestag doesn’t care. It’s a game changer. Nobody now cares what the US does.

  17. For Germany, an ally of Turkey during World War I, to confirm the genocide is a very significant and historic moment. Per the account of Henry Morgenthau Sr., the US Ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916, the German armed forces were instrumental in training and supporting the Turkish army during their military campaigns and genocide.

    Now for one of our spineless US Presidents to have the courage and moral integrity to lead the way towards recognition. However, courage and moral integrity is not part of the the current administration.

  18. Only the great, will have the moral fiber to admit past mistakes and recognize the truth.
    Thank you members of the German Bundestag for showing the world that the nation you represent has a soul.

  19. Thank you Germany. Next should be USA and Israel.
    Unfortunately my father who lost most of his relatives escaped and settled in Egypte.
    We Armenians are really grateful to many Arab Countries beside France and others, accepted many refugees. Armenians has nothing against Turkish people , but the government of Turkey.

  20. Turkey can’t go calling Germany hypocrites after this, unlike France, Belgium, etc. Germany remains the only country in Western Europe to face their history, as they acknowledged their complicity in the Armenian Genocide with this resolution as well. Germany, unlike France did not arm and train the Hutu in Rwanda. Germany does not discuss the sins of other nations with a statue of the mass murderer King Leopold II right outside their parliament. The standard Turkish defense mechanisms simply aren’t applicable here. Now sit back and enjoy Erdogan’s hissy fit.

  21. This is another step forward. And an important one given that it comes from Germany. Makes it harder to argue against the Armenian Genocide.

  22. Armenians.
    [Danke schön. հայ երիտասարդների շնորհակալության ակցիան Երեւանում Գերմանիայի դեսպանատան մոտ]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQblvhUstt0

    Turks (….many, not all: see below).
    [German MPs receive threatening emails over plans to recognize Armenian genocide ]
    https://www.rt.com/news/345009-german-mps-threats-genocide/
    {Thousands of emails have been reportedly sent out by the Turkish community to German MPs, threatening the politicians and calling them names in connection with Berlin’s latest attempts to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide.}

    [Recognizing the Armenian genocide: German MPs receive death threats, Turkey warns Germany to be ‘careful’]
    https://www.sott.net/article/319374-Recognizing-the-Armenian-genocide-German-MPs-receive-death-threats-Turkey-warns-Germany-to-be-careful

    {Chairman of the German Greens, Cem Ozdemir, who is of Turkish origin, was one of the MPs who received abusive messages via email, Twitter and Facebook.
    “It’s always the same terms: ‘Traitor,’ ‘Armenia’s pig’, ‘son of a bitch’, ‘Armenian Terrorist’ and even ‘Nazi’,” he told ARD.}

  23. Turkey has a history of massacring minorities look at the Kurds to which neither gutless USA or Nato does anything about.
    Apart from the Armenian Genocide there was the Pontic Greek Genocide, the Assyrian Genocide, the September 1955 pogrom of the Greeks of Constantinople and expulsion in 1963, the 1922 Asia minor massacres, Alevi injustices and it continues. The pressure needs to be put on the Turkish government so that it can join humanity and to say sorry for it’s crimes and to pay reparations. May 19 is Pontic Greek Genocide Remembrance Day. Never Forget.
    Mr Erdogan stop being a Turk and become a human first like all the other normal humans with empathy.

    Three things that cannot be hidden for long the Sun, The Moon and The Truth. Paraphrase of Buddhist Saying

  24. All these countries who are passing and admitting that it was genocide ,what will they do next.Are they going to take Turkey to the international court in Belgium.?And ask for Turkey for reparation? First of all its Armenia that must take Turkey to the international court of human rights.Most countries have passed that resolution on the genocide just for their own interests against Turkey.

  25. Let us also remember that the genocides against the native American peoples are a major reason why the US Govt. (despite sympathetic symbolic statements by individuals) is unwilling to initiate a substantive recognition-reparations process.

    Personality attacks against individual civic leaders attacks will not change that.

    Recognition by all victims of genocides of other peoples sufferings might.

    That conclusion was drawn from workshops on comparative genocide organized in San Francisco by the Armenian Commemorative Committee of the day that included the Native Americans.

  26. Some notes about this historic decision by the Bundestag.

    – This decision to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide by Germany falls on the same day that Tehlirian was tried and subsequently acquitted – quite symbolic, even if a coincidence.

    – A significant aspect of this recognition, besides obviously the recognition itself, was the fact that the decision was near unanimous, i.e. the message being “there is no need to debate the obvious”. It was not even a quarter in Turkey’s favor. Very significant.

    – Germany made this decision “at the worst possible time”. Turkey is dangling the refugees over Germany’s head and trying to cut deals. They were also in discussions of visa-free travel and Turkey’s future EU membership. And with this decision of it being “the worst possible time”, the most important aspect of it is its message to the neocon-led US government of the past few decades who have been lying over and over with un-American statements like “we need Turkey at this time and thus cannot discuss the Armenian Genocide issue”. Germany’s decision is an IN-YOUR-FACE to these sham decision makers and cowards of the “establishment” in the US government.

    – Even though the USA is the most important country for the Genocide recognition, in another sense Germany is perhaps the most important considering that it is Germany which has the most information about its WWI ally, which committed Genocide. Thus, in a legal sense, Germany’s testimony has the potential to be the most valid and damning against Turkey’s denial campaign.

    – There are more Turks in a smaller Germany than there are Armenians in a larger USA. Most Turks living comfortably in Germany “took offense” at Germany’s AG decision, and in fact engaged in an abusive, belligerent campaign against German officials, even involving death threats. The German government was undaunted by their threats as well as their “needs”. With this kind of behavior, the Turks in Germany could have taken this opportunity to take a higher moral ground and proved to the German officials that having lived in a civilized country, they became better people and their State Benefits are not going to waste. Instead, the Turks of Germany corroborated the notion that they do not in fact deserve Germany’s State Benefits nor support, and reinforced in the Germans’ minds that they have made a mistake accepting so many Turks into their country.

    • There’s another significant aspect to this recognition. Germany is showing to neocon-ruled America that in Europe and, indeed, in the international arena, the country is no longer an American protectorate and is capable of conducting a foreign policy independent of and, indeed, contrary to America’s disgraceful and unfounded “Turkey is a valuable ally” cliché. But America can continue parroting it. After Germany’s recognition no one really cares about what cowardly US administration thinks and does about the issue.

    • “– Even though the USA is the most important country for the Genocide recognition, in another sense Germany is perhaps the most important considering that it is Germany which has the most information about its WWI ally, which committed Genocide.”

      Another angle on this is that for a lot of people, they’re hearing Turks say one thing and us say another thing. For a majority of them, they will not delve deeply into the facgts of the genocide. But hearing Germany say that they were there when it happened, knew about it and did nothing shows that others knew about what was going on. It’s not about competing “narratives” anymore. Many countries knew about it. This is why the publicity about the massacres and the humanitarian response in the US is also important. So many others outside the Ottoman empire knew about it and understood what it was about, the destruction of a nation. And that should tilt many more people towards understanding it was genocide, before which they were unsure about who to believe.

      Also as for German information about the genocide, I hope a lot more survived the WWII bombings of Germany than just the already published diplomatic archives. Berlin got hit hard by the Allies.

    • John, true, Germany may be trying to send the message to the USA, even though militarily it is still “under occupation”, so I suppose it is trying. But honestly, I don’t think we can get anywhere in the way of ‘reparations’ without the USA. The USA is the single entity responsible for the continued existence of Turkey, and holds the keys to both Turkey, and any resolution to the Armenian Genocide issue which Turkey will ultimately be responsible for. The other side sees an upcoming collapse of the “Anglo-American Empire”, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  27. Well done the Greens,and the courageous supporters of Turkish origin as well as the others. Everyone please inform yourself of the actual active role played by Prussian militarists, see Dadrian’s History of the Armenian Genocide,pp 248-292. Also note the Germans who suffered at the time for reacting as humans, J.Lepsius springs to mind.
    Now Westminster must stop its cowardly delaying and follow the Celtic nations, the Welsh, Scots and Irish, who have already recognised the Genocide. All British readers, take some action.Today.

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