THE HAGUE, Netherlands (A.W.)—The lower house of the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) will approve a motion, officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
A second motion that a Dutch Minister or the State Secretary should attend the official annual commemoration of the genocide in Armenia this April, will also be approved, reported the NL Times.
The two motions were submitted by Joel Voordewind of the ChristenUnie and were supported by all four coalition parties.
“We can not deny history out of fear of sanctions. Our country houses the capital of international law after all, so we must not be afraid to do the right thing here too,” Voordewind said to Dutch daily Trouw earlier today.
In Dec. 2004, the Dutch Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the Netherlands government to consistently bring up the Armenian Genocide in future negotiations dealing with Turkey’s accession to the European Union. The move came following extensive efforts by the Federation of Armenian Organizations in the Netherlands (FAON) and its April 24th Committee, both of which worked for years with Members of Parliament and representatives of their government in support of Armenian Genocide recognition.
The relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey has been tense as of late. The Netherlands recently refused Turkish ministers to campaign throughout the country for a referendum that extended Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers. A diplomatic feud erupted between the two countries last March and protests sparked after the Netherlands denied landing rights to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The Dutch also barred the landing of Turkish Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, according to the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
President Erdogan had attempted to rally the estimated 4.6 million expatriate Turks living in western Europe to vote in the then forthcoming Turkish referendum.
International election observers sharply criticized Turkey’s historic referendum, which took place a little over a month later and passed by a narrow margin. According to official results, 51.4% voted in favor of the proposed constitutional changes, which secured Erdogan’s increasing grip on power.
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland also denied landing rights to the Turkish foreign ministry prior to the referendum, citing security concerns as well. At the time, Turkey also summoned their Dutch envoy back to Ankara.
“To protest this decision by the Dutch Government, the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ankara was summoned to the Foreign Ministry,” read a statement by the Turkish foreign ministry. “We informed that we did not wish the Dutch Ambassador who is presently on leave outside of Turkey to return to his post for some time.”
On March 13, 2017—two days after the refusal by Dutch authorities—President Erdogan also accused the Netherlands of acting like a “banana republic” instead of a member of the EU and called on sanctions while speaking at a mass ceremony.
“I call on all the EU institutions and all the international organizations that pursue a mission to uphold democracy, human rights and rule of law to raise their voices and even impose sanctions on the Netherlands,” read a statement on the President’s website. Erdogan also accused the Dutch of Nazism at the International Goodness Awards on March 11 in Istanbul. The Dutch Prime Minister said that Erdogan’s comments about Nazism were “unacceptable” and demanded an apology.