Bill Challenges Turkey’s Restrictions on Armenian Genocide Speech
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (A.W.)—The Danish Parliament (Folketing) adopted a new resolution regarding the Armenian Genocide on Jan. 26, which recognizes the “tragic and bloody events that took place in eastern Anatolia in the period 1915-1923,” and states that the best way for reconciliation is through open dialogue on the basis of a “free and uncensored history research, including the release of all official documents from the period.”
While the bill criticizes Turkey and the fact that the term “genocide” cannot freely be used by its citizens and media, it does not specifically label the Armenian Genocide as such—except for in its title. The bill also states that the Parliament “maintains its parliamentary tradition not to issue judgments about historical events.”
After over two hours of discussion on the document brought to the Folketing agenda by Parliamentarians Nick Hækkerup, Søren Espersen, Michael Aastrup Jensen, Henrik Dahl, Martin Lidegaard, and Naser Khader, the Danish Parliament voted 89 to 9 with 11 abstentions to pass the measure.
“The Parliament confirms its decision no. V 54 of 19 May 2015 on the tragic and bloody events that took place in eastern Anatolia in the period 1915-1923. The Danish Parliament finds that the best path to reconciliation will be an open dialogue about the story on the basis of a free and uncensored history research, including the release of all official documents from the period. The Parliament regrets that Turkish law prohibits citizens and media to use the term ‘genocide’ about the events, and considers this to be an unreasonable restriction of both academic freedom as freedom of expression relates to the use of this term. Parliament maintains its parliamentary tradition not to issue judgments about historical events,” reads the adopted bill.
In 2015, the Danish Parliament adopted a measure, which recognized the “deportations, massacres and other atrocities” that had been committed against the Armenian population Anatolia in 1915-1923. In that bill, the Parliament expressed hope that there can be “reconciliation and normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey,” and called on both governments to work towards that.
In 2008, then Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Per Stig Møller has said in a written parliamentary answer that in the Danish government’s opinion, the issue of the Armenian Genocide is a “historical question that should be left up to the historians,” indicating that Denmark would not recognize the genocide.