Brussels, March 12, 2010 – AGBU Europe congratulates the Parliament of Sweden for acknowledging the genocides committed against the Armenians, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and Pontic Greeks during the First World War.
The Parliament of Sweden adopted the resolution by a vote of 131 to 130 on Thursday 11 March. In response, Turkey withdrew its Ambassador and cancelled Prime Minister Erdogan’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.
This vote comes on the heels of another vote, last Thursday (March 4), in the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which also acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. The resolution passed in spite of heavy pressure from Turkey; the Turkish government recalled their ambassador to the United States.
Opponents to the resolution in the US 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 a mistake 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 favour if we oblige in their historic taboos precisely when their own society is challenging them.
Turkey signed two protocols with Armenia on October 10, 2009 that were intended to lead to the normalization of relations between the two countries after a 17-year blockade (1993-2010) of Armenia by Turkey. The country then reneged on its commitment and subjected ratification of the agreement to further conditions. The process is widely considered 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.