Armenian Genocide: After EU, the US recognizes genocide in WWI
Wednesday, 30 October 2019
Armenia thanked the US on Wednesday for the “historic vote” of the House of Representatives, which formally recognized the Armenian Genocide, much to the annoyance of Turkey.
The European Parliament and some EU Member States, including Belgium, recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2015, on the centenary of the Genocide.
The vote calling for the commemorating the Armenian Genocide during WWI was passed yesterday by an overwhelming majority of 405 votes out of 435, in a rare bipartisan union between Democrats and Republicans.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian praised this “historic vote” in a Twitter message, saying the resolution “is a bold step towards truth and historical justice, which also offers comfort to millions of descendants of the Armenian Genocide.”
Some Armenians, however, were less positive about the US vote, recalling that it comes at a time when relations between Ankara and Washington, two allies in NATO, are experiencing strong tensions.
“The genocide continues to be a political instrument, a playing card in the hands of the world powers,” said Souren Manoukian, historian of the Genocide Museum in Yerevan, calling to “consider this resolution through the prism of US foreign policy towards Turkey.”
The Armenian Genocide is recognized by thirty countries and most historians.
According to estimates, between 1.2 million and 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the First World War by troops of the Ottoman Empire, then allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Nazi-Germany’s Hitler allegedly wrote that no-one remembers the Armenian Genocide, encouraging him to go ahead with his own genocide policies in WWII.
Turkey refuses to use the term “genocide”, claiming that reciprocal massacres in the midst of civil war took place and that famine left hundreds of thousands of dead on both sides.
In a resolution adopted on 15 April 2015, the European Parliament paid tribute “to the memory of the one-and-a-half million innocent Armenian victims who perished in the Ottoman Empire” and joined “the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in a spirit of European solidarity and justice”.
The resolution recalled an earlier resolution from 1987 when it recognised “that the tragic events that took place in 1915-1917 against the Armenians in the territory of the Ottoman Empire represent a genocide as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948.”
In the 2015 resolution, the European Parliament welcomed statements by the Turkish government, “offering condolences and recognising atrocities against the Ottoman Armenians as a step in the right direction… thus to pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples.”
The Belgian parliament followed suit in 2015 when it passed a resolution calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.