Armenian Genocide recognition

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Armenian Genocide recognition refers to the formal acceptance that the massacre and forced deportation of Armenians committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915–1923 constitutes genocide. The overwhelming majority of historians as well as academic institutions on Holocaust and Genocide Studies recognize the Armenian Genocide.[1] As of 2014, the governments of twenty-three countries, including Russia, France, as well as forty-three states of the United States of America, have recognized the events as 'genocide'.[2][3] The governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan deny the Armenian Genocide.

International organizations[edit]

International organizations officially recognising the Armenian Genocide include:

United Nations[edit]

In 1985, the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities received a report from Special Rapporteur and Sub-Commission member Benjamin Whitaker (United Kingdom) entitled Revised and Updated Report on the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (commonly known as The Whitaker Report), in which the Ottoman systematic massacre of Armenians during the World War I was cited as meeting the criteria for the UN definition of genocide and as one of the genocides of the 20th century.[16] His report was received and noted by a resolution at the 38th session of the Sub-Commission in 1985. (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1985/6, 2 July 1985)

International Association of Genocide Scholars[edit]

In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) passed a resolution unanimously recognizing the Ottoman massacres of Armenians as genocide:[17][18]

That this assembly of the Association of Genocide Scholars in its conference held in Montreal, June 11–13, 1997, reaffirms that the mass murder of over a million Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide which conforms to the statutes of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. It further condemns the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government and its official and unofficial agents and supporters.

— Among the prominent scholars who supported the resolution were: Roger W. Smith (College of William & Mary; President of AGS); Israel Charny (Hebrew University, Jerusalem); Helen Fein (Past President AGS); Frank Chalk (Concordia University, Montreal); Ben Kiernan (Yale University); Anthony Oberschall (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Mark Levene (Warwick University, UK); Rhoda Howard (McMaster University, Canada), Michael Freeman (Essex University, UK), Gunnar Heinsohn (Bremen University, Germany)

The IAGS has recognized the 1915 genocide in three different resolutions, the latest (October 5, 2007) extending the recognition to also include the Assyrians, Syrians, and Pontic Greeks among the affected minorities:

WHEREAS the denial of genocide is widely recognised as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably paving the way for future genocides;

WHEREAS the Ottoman genocide against minority populations during and following the First World War is usually depicted as a genocide against Armenians alone, with little recognition of the qualitatively similar genocides against other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire;

BE IT RESOLVED that it is the conviction of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Association calls upon the government of Turkey to acknowledge the genocides against these populations, to issue a formal apology, and to take prompt and meaningful steps toward restitution.[19]

The IAGS has consistently identified the Ottoman massacres of Armenians as genocide. For example, on March 7, 2009, in an open letter to President Obama, Gregory Stanton, President IAGS stated "we urge you to 'refer to the mass slaughter of Armenians as genocide in your commemorative statement,' as you urged President George W. Bush to do in a letter dated March 18, 2005".[20]

In February 2002 an independent legal opinion commissioned by the International Center for Transitional Justice, concluded that the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915–1918 "include[d] all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the [Genocide] Convention, and legal scholars as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other people would be justified in continuing to so describe them".[21] From page 2 of the report:

This memorandum was drafted by independent legal counsel based on a request made to the International Center for Transitional Justice ("ICTJ"), on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding ("MoU") entered into by The Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission ("TARC") on July 12, 2002 and presentations by members of TARC on September 10, 2002.

From page 18, D. Conclusion:

... Because the other three elements identified above have been definitively established, the Events, viewed collectively, can thus be said to include all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the Convention, and legal scholars as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other people would be justified in continuing to so describe them.

In 2007, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity wrote a letter signed by 53 Nobel Laureates re-affirming the Genocide Scholars' conclusion that the 1915 killings of Armenians constituted genocide.[22] Wiesel's organization also asserted that Turkish acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide would create no legal "basis for reparations or territorial claims", anticipating Turkish anxieties that it could prompt financial or territorial claims.[23]

European Parliament[edit]

On April 15, 2015, the European Parliament backed a motion that calls the massacre a century ago of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a "genocide", days after Pope Francis' message triggered an angry reaction in Turkey by using the same term. The European Parliament sprang to the pope's defense, commending the message the pontiff delivered at the weekend.[8][9][10]

American Jewish organizations[edit]

On November 7, 1989 the Union for Reform Judaism passed a resolution on recognition of the Armenian Genocide.[24]

In 2007, the Anti-Defamation League declared the following press statement:

We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915–1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide.[25]

In 2014, the American Jewish Committee recognized the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact.[26][27][28]

Central Council of Jews in Germany[edit]

The Central Council of Jews in Germany has called on the German government to recognize the World War I mass murder of over one million Armenians in what was then the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.

"One hundred years ago, in the government of the Ottoman Empire ordered the deportation of one million Armenians. They were murdered directly, or died of starvation and dehydration in the desert,“ Central Council President Josef Schuster told the newspaper ‘Der Tagesspiegel’. He added: “These terrible events should be called what they were: a genocide.”

Schuster said the Armenian genocide later served Adolf Hitler and his Nazis as a blueprint for the Holocaust.[29][30][31]

The Zentralrat is the German affiliate of the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

European People's Party[edit]

On 3 March 2015, the European People's Party (EPP) adopted a resolution recognising and condemning the Armenian Genocide as well as paying tribute to the victims in the 100th anniversary. The EPP, which is the largest European political party, has adopted the resolution following the initiative of its sister parties from Armenia. The EPP includes major parties such as the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the French Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the Spanish People's Party (PP) and it has member parties in all the EU Member States except for the United Kingdom.[32][33]


Permanent Peoples' Tribunal[edit]

In 1984 the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal made a verdict that the Armenian genocide is "an 'international crime' for which the Turkish state must assume responsibility", and that the United Nations and each of its members "have the right to demand this recognition and to assist the Armenian people to that end".[34]

Presbyterian Church (USA)[edit]

On June 20, 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and adopting the 2015 church calendar designating April 26 as the day for its observance.[35][36] It also directed the church’s Mission Agency to prepare educational and liturgical resources for member churches in preparation for this event.[36] This resolution was the first of its kind for a major American church body.[36]

Syrian officials[edit]

In 2001 Abd al-Qader Qaddura, then-speaker of the Syrian Parliament, became the first high-ranking Syrian official to acknowledge the Armenian genocide when he wrote in the Book of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide Monument and Museum in Yerevan: “As we visit the Memorial and Museum of the Genocide that the Armenian nation suffered in 1915, we stand in full admiration and respect in front of those heroes that faced death with courage and heroism. Their children and grandchildren continued after them to immortalize their courage and struggle. … With great respect we bow our heads in memory of the martyrs of the Armenian nation — our friends — and hail their ability for resoluteness and triumph. We will work together to liberate every human being from aggression and oppression.” In 2014 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad became the first Syrian head of state to acknowledge the mass murders of Armenians and identify the perpetrator as Ottoman Turkey, stating, "The degree of savagery and inhumanity that the terrorists have reached reminds us of what happened in the Middle Ages in Europe over 500 years ago. In more recent modern times, it reminds us of the massacres perpetrated by the Ottomans against the Armenians, when they killed a million and a half Armenians and half a million Orthodox Syriacs in Syria and in Turkish territory." Although Assad did not use the word genocide, two days after Assad's statement Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, stated, “How about the Armenian Genocide where 1.5 million people were killed?” [37]

Parliaments and governments[edit]


On May 24, 1915, during World War I, the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France and Russia) jointly issued a statement in which they said that for approximately a month, the Kurdish and Turkish populations of Armenia had been massacring Armenians, with the connivance and often assistance of Ottoman authorities, and that the Allied Powers would hold all officers of the Ottoman Government implicated in such crimes personally responsible for crimes against humanity.[38][39][40]

In recent years, parliaments of several countries have formally recognized the event as genocide. Turkish entry talks with the European Union were met with a number of calls to consider the event as genocide,[41][42][43] though it never became a precondition.

As of November 2014, 23 states have officially recognized the historical events as genocide.

Sovereign nations officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide are:[44][45][46]

Country Year(s) of recognition Notes
 Argentina 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015[47]
 Armenian SSR/ Armenia 1965, 1988[48]
 Belgium 1998[49]
 Bolivia 2014 The resolution was approved unanimously by both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with the approval of the Foreign Ministry.[50]
 Canada 1996, 2002, 2004[51]
 Chile 2007, 2015[52][53]
 Cyprus 1975, 1982, 1990 The first country to raise the issue to the UN General Assembly. Denial of the genocide is criminalized.[54]
 Czech Republic 2015[55][56][57]
 France 1998, 2001[58]
 Greece 1999 Denial of the genocide is criminalized.
  • Punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine not to exceed 30,000 Euros, per 2014 act.[59]
 Italy 2000[58][60] Denial of genocides is criminalized. It stipulates 3-year imprisonment and a 10,000 EUR fine.[61][62][63]
 Lithuania 2005[64]
 Lebanon 1997, 2000[58]
 Netherlands 2004, 2015[65][66]
 Ottoman Empire 1919[67] The verdict of the Turkish courts-martial of 1919–20 acknowledged the Armenian Genocide (then known as "war crimes"), and sentenced the perpetrators to death. However, in 1921, during the resurgence of the Turkish National Movement, amnesty was given to those found guilty. Thereafter, the successive Turkish government, under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, adopted a policy of denial.[68][69][70]
 Poland 2005[71] Vice-President of the European Parliament Mr. Ryszard Czarnecki said he's proud Poland has already recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide.
 Russia 1995, 2005[58]
 Slovakia 2004 Denial of the genocide is criminalized.
  • Punishable by up to 5 years in prison, per 2011 act.[72]
 Sweden 2010[73]
  Switzerland 2003 Denial of the genocide is criminalized.
 Syria 2015[74]
 Uruguay 1965, 2004[58] The first country to recognize the events as genocide.
 Holy See 2000[58]
 Venezuela 2005[75]

Regional governments[edit]

Regions or provinces recognizing the Armenian Genocide include:

  •  New South Wales: In 2007 the Parliament of the State of New South Wales passed a motion condemning the genocide and called on the Australian Federal Government to do the same,[76]
  •  South Australia: In March 2009 the Parliament of South Australia passed a similar motion to that passed in New South Wales in 2007.[77]

Additionally, the City of Ryde has adopted a unanimous motion dedicated to the centenary of the Armenian Genocide at its Council Meeting on April 14, 2015. The motion further calls on the Government of Australia to recognize and condemn all genocides.[78]

  •  São Paulo: In 2015, the Brazilian State of São Paulo declared the 24th of April as the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.[79] The State Assembly recognized and commemorated the genocide in 2003.[80]
  •  Ceará: the Legislative Council of State of Ceará recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2006[81]
  •  Paraná: the Legislative Council of the State of Paraná recognized and commemorated the Armenian Genocide in 2013.[82][83]

Additionally, the cities of Campinas[84] and Osasco [85] officially commemorate April 24 as the Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.


Parliaments of four regions recognize the Armenian Genocide:

Additionally, the cities of Mislata,[90] Xirivella,[91] San Sebastián,[92] Burjassot,[93] Betera,[94] and Pinto[95] have recognized the Armenian Genocide.

  •  Tuscany: The regional parliament of Tuscany recognized the Armenian Genocide.[95]
  •  Turkey: Van Metropolitan Municipality Assembly held its third session. Van Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Van TSO) DBP were present at the hearing held and AKP members of parliament. Following an inspection before starting to discuss agenda items Van Metropolitan Municipality Deputy Speaker Cahit Bozbay and DBP Group Co-Spokesperson of Ramadan Alvor, made a statement on the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the Anfal genocide.[96][97]
United Kingdom
United States
  •  United States: 43 U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide; as of February 2015.[98]
  •  Overijssel, Netherlands: The Provincial Parliament of Overijssel recognized the Armenian Genocide.[99]
  •  Quebec, Canada: First, in 2001, the Canadian province of Quebec independently of its federal government, then, in 2004, the government of Canada itself recognized the Armenian Genocide.[100][101][102]
  • Flag of Quindío.svg Quindío, Colombia: The department's current capital city, formerly named "Viila Holguín" at its foundation act in 1889, was after renamed Armenia as tribute to the genocide victims.[103]

Position of Turkey[edit]

A major obstacle for wider recognition of the genocide in the world is the official position of Turkey, which states that there was no will to exterminate Armenian population and the 1915 massacres were the consequences of Tehcir Law and World War I.[104]

In April 2006, the Turkish Human Rights Association has recognized this as a genocide.[105]

In December 2008, a group of Turkish intellectuals launched an online petition for people who want to apologize in a personal capacity. The writers of the petition used the word "the Great Catastrophe" regarding the events. The petition (Turkish for "We apologize"), gained upwards of 10,000 signatures in a matter of days. In the face of a backlash,[106] the Turkish president defended the petition, citing freedom of speech.[107] An opposition group soon launched a Web site raising an even higher number of signatures. The Prime Minister sided with the opposition, and a national debate ensued.[108]

Since the "I Apologize" campaign in 2008, every year on April 24, commemoration ceremonies for the genocide are held in several Turkish cities. They started at Taksim Square of Istanbul in 2008, mainly a result of the nationwide discussion that came after the Assassination of Hrant Dink and then spread to Ankara, Diyarbakır, İzmir, Malatya, and Mersin in the following years.[109] The commemorations draw increasing support each year.

The Turkish Green Party had announced that they recognized the Armenian genocide in 2014.[110]

Position of the United States[edit]

Several official US documents describe the events as "genocide". The U.S. House of Representatives adopted resolutions commemorating the Armenian Genocide in 1975,[100][111] 1984[112] and 1996.[113] President Ronald Reagan also described the events as "genocide" in his speech on April 22, 1981.[114] The legislatures of 43 out of the 50 U.S. states have made individual proclamations recognising the events of 1915 to 1923 as genocide.[2][3] As of March 4, 2010, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs has recognized the massacres of 1915 as "genocide".[115]

Even though it is commonly assumed that the United States has not acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, the fact is that the U.S. government first acknowledged the Armenian Genocide back in 1951, in a document it submitted to the International Court of Justice, commonly known as the World Court.[16]

After the tenure of Ronald Reagan, later US Presidents have refused to name the events as such.

The Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), advocacy organizations representing the views and values of the Armenian American community in the United States, have been urging Congress and the President of the United States to recognize the genocide by Ottoman Turkey in 1915.[116] They have also asked for an increase of economic aid to Armenia.

The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs approved HR 106, a bill that categorized and condemned the Ottoman Empire for the Genocide, on October 10, 2007, by a 27–21 vote. However, some of the support for the bill from both Democrats and Republicans eroded after the White House warned against the possibility of Turkey restricting airspace as well as ground-route access for U.S. military and humanitarian efforts in Iraq in response to the bill.[117] In response to the House Foreign Affairs Committee's decision on the bill, Turkey ordered their ambassador to the United States to return to Turkey for "consultations".[118] The Turkish lobby worked intensely to block the bill's passage.[118]

Barack Obama's position[edit]

On January 19, 2008 U.S. Senator Barack Obama released a statement: "Two years ago, I criticized the Secretary of State for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term 'genocide' to describe Turkey's slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. 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".[119]

Since becoming president he has retreated from those statements, stating only that his opinion has not changed but refusing to use the word genocide. Despite his previous public recognition and support of genocide bills, as well as the election campaign promises to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide,[120] Obama has thus far abstained from using the term "genocide".[121] On April 24, 2009, he stated as president:

I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.[122]

On April 24 commemoration speeches, Obama referred only to the Armenian synonym Metz Eghern ("Mec Eġeṙn"). On April 24, 2010 Obama stated:

On this solemn day of remembrance, we pause to recall that ninety-five years ago one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century began. In that dark moment of history, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.

Today is a day to reflect upon and draw lessons from these terrible events. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. It is in all of our interest to see the achievement a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts. The Meds Yeghern is a devastating chapter in the history of the Armenian people, and we must keep its memory alive in honor of those who were murdered and so that we do not repeat the grave mistakes of the past.[123][124][125][126]

Kurdish position[edit]

Some Kurdish tribes played a role in the genocide as they were an important tool used by the Ottoman authorities to carry out the killings.[127] Among modern Kurds, including major Kurdish parties like HDP, KDP and PKK, most of them acknowledge the killings and apologize in the name of their ancestors who committed atrocities toward Armenians and Arameans in the name of the Ottoman Empire.[128][129][130][131][131][132]

Position of France[edit]

France has formally recognized the Armenian massacres as genocide.[133]

In 2006, the French Parliament submitted a bill to create a law that would punish any person denying the Armenian genocide with up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 45.000€.[134] Despite Turkish protests,[135] the French National Assembly adopted a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.[136] The bill had been criticized as an attempt to garner votes from among the 600,000 ethnic Armenians of France.[137] This criticism has come not only from within Turkey,[138] but also from Orhan Pamuk.[139] However, the bill was dropped in the summer of 2011 before coming to the Senate.[140]

Since then, France has urged Turkey to recognize the 1915 massacre genocide.[141]

The French Senate passed a bill in 2011 that criminalizes denial of acknowledged genocides, which includes both the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. The bill was submitted by the parliament in 2012.[142] However, the bill was considered unconstitutional on February 28, 2012 by the French Constitutional Court: “The council rules that by punishing anyone contesting the existence of... crimes that lawmakers themselves recognized or qualified as such, lawmakers committed an unconstitutional attack on freedom of expression”.[143]

Position of the United Kingdom[edit]

Armenian memorial unveiled in Cardiff in 2007.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have formally recognised the Armenian genocide. However the position of the Westminster government in 2007 was that it condemns the massacres, but did not find them qualified enough under 1948 UN Convention on Genocide to call them genocide and did not believe the UN Convention rules could be applied retroactively.[144] In 2000, an Early Day Motion recognising the Armenian Genocide by the UK Parliament was signed by 185 MPs.[145][146]

In 2009 the lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC revealed in a disclosure of Foreign Office documents entitled "Was there an Armenian Genocide?",[147] how the British Parliament has routinely been misinformed and misled by ministers who have recited FCO briefs without questioning their accuracy. A 1999 Foreign Office briefing for ministers said that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide would provide no practical benefit to the UK and goes on to say that "The current line is the only feasible option" owing to "the importance of our relations (political, strategic and commercial) with Turkey". The Foreign Office documents furthermore include advice from 1995 to the then Tory foreign minister, Douglas Hogg, that he should refuse to attend a memorial service for the victims of the genocide.[148]

The historical paradoxicality of the British position is highlighted by the role of James Bryce (1838-1922), 1st Viscount Bryce, one of the first Britons to bring this issue to the fore.

Position of Australia[edit]

Australia does not view the events at the end of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.[149] Australia is one of the countries who were in war against the Ottoman Empire at the time of the events, notably during the Gallipoli Campaign. Australia does acknowledge the tragic events had devastating effects on the identity, heritage, and culture of all the people in the areas that the events have occurred. Furthermore, in response to the motions of New South Wales and South Australia to recognize the events as genocide the Foreign Minister of Australia has clarified on June 4, 2014, that Australian states and territories have no constitutional role in the formulation of the Australian foreign policy, and that Australia does not view the tragic events at the end of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.[149]

Position of Israel[edit]

Officially Israel neither recognizes nor denies the Armenian Genocide. Some MKs feel that recognition of the Genocide would jeopardize Israeli–Azerbaijan and Israeli–Turkish relations. As then Knesset Spokesperson Reuven Rivlin had said, "Turkey is and will be an ally of Israel. The talks with Turkey are understandable and even necessary from a strategic and diplomatic perspective. But those circumstances cannot justify the Knesset ignoring the tragedy of another people" and Ayelet Shaked (of far-right Habayit Hayehudi party) said: "We must confront our silence and that of the world in the face of such horrors."[150][151] However, it was noted in 2014 that as President of Israel, Rivlin is quietly distancing himself from the campaign for Israel to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and chose not to sign the annual petition, which he previously did. Concerned about the possible negative reaction of Turkey if the president signed the petition, an unnamed officials of the Foreign Ministry welcomed what they called Rivlin's "statesmanship."[152]

Israel appeared to move closer to officially recognizing the genocide in 2011 when the Knesset held its first open discussion on the matter. By a unanimous vote of 20–0, Israel's Parliament in Jerusalem approved referring the subject to the Education Committee for more extensive deliberation.[153] Israel's Speaker of Knesset told an Israel-based Armenian action committee that he intended to introduce an annual parliamentary session to mark the Armenian Genocide.[154] A special parliamentary session held by the Knesset in 2012 to determine if Israel will recognize the Armenian genocide ended inconclusively. Then Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin and Cabinet Minister Gilad Erdan were among those supporting formal recognition by the government.[155] The recognition was not approved at that time and in 2015, Rafael Harpaz, Israel's ambassador to Azerbaijan, said in an interview that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has made it clear that Israel will not recognize the Armenian genocide, given Israel's hopes that its political and economic relationship with Turkey can improve. "There are enough common interests and issues in the world for us to cooperate. I would like to take an example of Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines is the biggest foreign airline which is active in Israel. Istanbul is the biggest hub for Israelis. The same goes for tourism, trade which is up. We hope that our political relations with Turkey will improve," Harpaz said.[156]

During the United Nations Holocaust Memorial in the 28th of January 2015, the President of Israel, Rivlin spoke about the Armenian genocide and said: “In 1915, when members of the Armenian nation were being massacred, Avshalom Feinberg, a leading member of Nili, the Jewish underground which cooperated with the Allies during the First World War, wrote the following, and I quote, ‘My teeth have been ground down with worry, whose turn is next? When I walked on the blessed and holy ground on my way up to Jerusalem, I asked myself if we are living in our modern era, in 1915, or in the days of Titus or Nebuchadnezzar? Did I, a Jew, forget that I am a Jew? I also asked myself if I have the right to weep over the tragedy of my people only, and whether the Prophet Jeremiah did not shed tears of blood for Armenians as well?’Avshalom Feinberg wrote that exactly 100 years ago—100 years of hesitation and denial! But in the Land of Israel of that time, in the Jerusalem where I was born, no one denied the massacre that had taken place. The residents of Jerusalem, my parents, and members of my family saw the Armenian refugees arriving by the thousands—starving, piteous survivors of calamity. In Jerusalem they found shelter and their descendants continue to live there to this day.[157]

Position of other countries[edit]

The Armenian Heritage Park in downtown Boston
Armenian genocide monument in Larnaca, Cyprus. Cyprus was among the first countries to recognize the genocide.

Azerbaijan, who are in deep strategic alliance with Turkey and diplomatically hostile towards Armenia, shares the position of Turkey. The Ukrainian town Izyum recognized the killings as genocide on New Year's Eve 2009 but after lobbying by the Azerbaijani community of Crimea, their City Council canceled that decision on April 1, 2010. This is the first case in the world when the decision on a recognition was cancelled.[158][unreliable source?]

Denmark believes that the genocide recognition should be discussed by historians, not politicians.[159]

There was a move by activists in Bulgaria to acknowledge the genocide, but it was voted down.[160] Shortly after the decision of the parliament, several of the biggest municipalities in Bulgaria accepted a resolution recognising the genocide.[161] The resolution was first passed in Plovdiv followed by Burgas, Ruse, Stara Zagora, Pazardzhik and others.

Diaspora and the Genocide recognition[edit]

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA) are the main lobbying groups in the United States. They maintain the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the United States Congress and by the President of the United States as part of their lobbying agenda. Moreover, the ANC's chapters around the world claim success in lobbying the European parliament and the governments of the European Union including France, Italy, Great Britain, Greece, Belgium and countries such as Russia, Canada, Argentina, Lebanon and Cyprus to recognize the Genocide.[116][162]

During the 1970s and early 1980s, militant movements among Armenians arose. The goal of these Armenian militants was to agitate world governments for Turkish and international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Attacks on Turkish diplomats were committed in Europe, Asia and America. Of these were active the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) and the Armenian Revolutionary Army (ARA);[162] both organizations stopped their military activities in the late 80's and are now defunct.

Developments since 2000[edit]

On March 29, 2000 the Swedish parliament approved a report, recognizing the Armenian Genocide and calling for Turkey's greater openness and an "unbiased independent and international research on the genocide committed against the Armenian people".[163] On June 12, 2008, the Swedish parliament, with a vote 245 to 37 (1 abstain, 66 absent), rejected a call for recognition of the 1915 genocide of the Ottoman Empire. On June 11, a long debate took place in the Swedish Parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish Government and Parliament to officially recognize the genocide.[164] The MPs adhered to the recommendation by the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Foreign Committee, arguing that there are "disagreements among scholars" in regard to the nature of the World War I events in Turkey, the non-retroactive nature of the UN Genocide Convention, and that the issue "should be left to historian". However, the Foreign Committee report stated that "the Committee understands that what happened to Armenians, Assyrians/Syrians and Chaldeans during the Ottoman Empire's reign would probably be regarded as genocide according to the 1948 convention, if it had been in power at the time of the event".[165] Three days prior to the debate in the Parliament, a petition, signed by over 60 renowned genocide scholars was published, calling on politicians in general, and the Swedish parliamentarians in specific, not to abuse the name of science in denying a historic fact.[166] On March 11, 2010, the Swedish parliament recognized the genocide.[167]

In 2001 Abd al-Qader Qaddura, then-speaker of the Syrian Parliament, became the first high-ranking Syrian official to acknowledge the Armenian genocide when he wrote in the Book of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide Monument and Museum in Yerevan: “As we visit the Memorial and Museum of the Genocide that the Armenian nation suffered in 1915, we stand in full admiration and respect in front of those heroes that faced death with courage and heroism. Their children and grandchildren continued after them to immortalize their courage and struggle. … With great respect we bow our heads in memory of the martyrs of the Armenian nation — our friends — and hail their ability for resoluteness and triumph. We will work together to liberate every human being from aggression and oppression.” In 2014 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad became the first Syrian head of state to acknowledge the mass murders of Armenians and identify the perpetrator as Ottoman Turkey, stating, "The degree of savagery and inhumanity that the terrorists have reached reminds us of what happened in the Middle Ages in Europe over 500 years ago. In more recent modern times, it reminds us of the massacres perpetrated by the Ottomans against the Armenians, when they killed a million and a half Armenians and half a million Orthodox Syriacs in Syria and in Turkish territory." Although Assad did not use the world genocide, two days after Assad's statement Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, stated, “How about the Armenian Genocide where 1.5 million people were killed?” [37]

On September 9, 2004, then-President Mohammad Khatami of Iran visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial at Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan.[168]

On June 15, 2005 the German Bundestag passed a resolution that "honors and commemorates the victims of violence, murder and expulsion among the Armenian people before and during the First World War". The German resolution also states:

The German parliament deplores the acts of the Government of the Ottoman Empire regarding the almost complete destruction of Armenians in Anatolia and also the inglorious role of the German Reich in the face of the organized expulsion and extermination of Armenians which it did not try to stop. Women, children and elderly were from February 1915 sent on death marches towards the Syrian desert.

The expressions "organized expulsion and extermination" resulting in the "almost complete destruction of Armenians" is sufficient in any language to amount to formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, although of course the crime of 'genocide' had not been legally defined in 1915. The Resolution also contains an apology for German responsibility as a then ally of Turkey.[169][170]

On May 10, 2006, the Bulgarian Government rejected a bill on recognition of the Armenian Genocide.[171] This came after Emel Etem Toshkova, the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and one of the leaders of the MRF, the main Turkish party in Bulgaria, declared that her party would walk out of the coalition government if the bill was passed. The bill itself was brought forward by the nationalist Ataka party.

On June 2, 2006, the President of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, stated that the republic's parliament is ready to recognize the Armenian Genocide at a press conference in Moscow.[172]

On September 4, 2006, Members of the European Parliament voted for the inclusion of a clause prompting Turkey "to recognize the Armenian genocide as a condition for its EU accession" in a highly critical report, which was adopted by a broad majority in the foreign relations committee of the European Parliament.[173][174] This requirement was later dropped on September 27, 2006 by the general assembly of the European Parliament by 429 votes in favor to 71 against, with 125 abstentions.[175] In dropping the pre-condition of acceptance of the Armenian genocide, (which could not be legally demanded of Turkey), The European Parliament said: “MEPs nevertheless stress that, although the recognition of the Armenian genocide as such is formally not one of the Copenhagen criteria, it is indispensable for a country on the road to membership to come to terms with and recognize its past.”

On September 26, 2006, the two largest political parties in the Netherlands, Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the Labour Party (PvdA), removed three Turkish-Dutch candidates for the 2006 general election, because they either denied or refused to publicly declare that the Armenian Genocide had happened. The magazine HP/De Tijd reported that the number 2 of the PvdA list of candidates, Nebahat Albayrak (who was born in Turkey and is of Turkish descent) had acknowledged that the term "genocide" was appropriate to describe the events. Albayrak denied having said this and accused the press of putting words in her mouth, saying that "I'm not a politician that will trample my identity. I've always defended the same views everywhere with regard to the 'genocide'".[176] It was reported that a large section of the Turkish minority were considering boycotting the elections.[177] Netherlands' Turkish minority numbers 365,000 people, out of which 235,000 are eligible to vote.

On November 29, 2006, the lower house of Argentina's parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The bill was overwhelmingly adopted by the assembly and declared April 24, the international day of remembrance for the Armenian genocide as an official "day of mutual tolerance and respect" among peoples around the world.

On July 17, 2006, the Brazilian state of Ceará became the second state after São Paulo to ratify a bill recognising the Armenian Genocide.[citation needed]

On April 20, 2007, the Basque Parliament approved an institutional declaration recognising the Armenian Genocide. The Basque Parliament included six articles where it affirms the authenticity of the Armenian Genocide and declares sympathy to the Armenians, while at the same time denouncing Turkey's negation of the genocide and its economic blockade imposed on Armenia.[178]

Russian President Medvedev laying a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial, October 2008

On June 5, 2007, the Chilean Senate unanimously adopted a legislation recognising the Armenian Genocide and urging its government to support a key 1985 United Nations Subcommission report properly describing this crime against humanity as a clear instance of genocide.[179]

On November 23, 2007, the Mercosur parliament adopted a resolution recognising the “Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, which took 1.5 million lives from 1915 to 1923”. The Mercosur resolution also expressed its support for the Armenian Cause and called on all countries to recognize the genocide.[180]

On October 9, 2009, former UN Judge Geoffrey Robertson released a lengthy report that found that there was an Armenian Genocide. The report noted that recent British governments have said there is not enough evidence. He found that the British government's Foreign Office was well aware of the unethical nature of the statements and had described Turkey as “neuralgic” on the issue. He concluded that “the advice provided by the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] to [the British government], and reproduced by ministers in parliamentary answers... reflects neither the law of genocide nor the demonstrable facts of the massacres in 1915–16”.[147]

On January 27, 2010 First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones recognized the Armenian Genocide on Holocaust Memorial Day.[181]

On March 4, 2010 the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution describing the killing of Armenians by Turkish forces during World War I as genocide.[182] The resolution was approved by 23 votes to 22 by the committee and "calls on President Barack Obama to ensure that U.S. foreign policy reflects an understanding of the 'genocide' and to label the World War I killings as such in his annual statement on the issue".[182]

On March 5, 2010, the Catalonian Parliament recognized the Armenian Genocide on the initiative of the members of Barcelona’s Friendship Union with Armenia.[87]

On March 11, 2010 the Swedish Parliament voted to describe the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide. The resolution was adopted with 131 deputies voting in favour of the resolution and 130 voting against it.

On March 25, 2010 the Serbian Radical Party submitted a draft resolution to the Serbian parliament condemning the genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey against Armenians from 1915 to 1923. SRS submitted the draft so that Serbia can join the countries which have condemned the genocide.[183] As of March 10th, 2014, Serbia does not recognize the events as a genocide,[184] thus it can be said the draft has failed.

At the end of 2011, the Serbs in Bosnia started an initiative to make Armenian genocide denial illegal.[citation needed] The bill has failed.

In 2012, Icelandic MPs proposed a bill to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide.[citation needed] The bill has failed.

Despite the fact that the Czech Republic has not formally recognized the Armenian Genocide, during his meeting with Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan in January 2014, the Czech President Miloš Zeman stated: "Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In 1915 1.5 million Armenians were killed."[185]

On June 4, 2014, the Foreign Minister of Australia Julie Bishop publicly declared that, while respecting the rights of individuals and groups to have strong views on the matter, Australia does not view the tragic events during the end of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.[149]

On June 20, 2014, the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and adopting the 2015 church calendar designating April 26 as the day for its observance.[35][36] It also directed the church’s Mission Agency to prepare educational and liturgical resources for member churches in preparation for this event.[36] This resolution was the first of its kind for a major American church body.[36]

On June 23, 2014 the parliament of Spain’s autonomous community of Navarre adopted a measure recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The measure came after a series of visits by members of the Navarre parliament to Armenia and Artsakh.[186]

On November 6, 2014, The Virginia Council of Churches unanimously approved a resolution calling for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The Convention was attended by representatives of every Christian denomination in the Commonwealth, including representatives of the Baptist, Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Catholic churches.[187]

On November 26, 2014, Bolivia unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and condemning all denialist policies regarding the genocide and crimes against humanity suffered by the Armenian nation. The resolution was approved unanimously by both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with the approval of the Foreign Ministry.[188]

On April 7, 2015, the Ngāpuhi leader David Rankin has called for Māori people to boycott this year’s centennial ANZAC commemorations because the Turkish Government is using the event to deflect attention from the Armenian Genocide. Mr Rankin stated that “the Armenian population was slaughtered by the colonizing Turks and our involvement in the ANZAC centennial at Gallipoli is supporting the genocide of the colonizer. Mr Rankin is calling on the Maori of New Zealand and other indigenous groups to boycott this year’s ANZAC Day events and as a sign of their solidarity with the Armenians, to stop wearing poppies this year.[189]

On April 12, 2015, Pope Francis described the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as “the first genocide of the 20th century” during an unprecedented Vatican Mass dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the tragedy. Francis remembered the victims of “that immense and senseless slaughter” at the start of the Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, which was attended by President Serzh Sarkisian, the supreme heads of the Armenian Apostolic Churches and hundreds of Armenian Catholics.[190] Turkey responded by recalling its ambassador to the Holy See.[191]

On April 15, 2015, the European Parliament adopted a resolution by a majority vote that calls the massacre a century ago of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a genocide. The motion, which garnered support from all political groups, encouraged Turkey to “use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide as an important opportunity” to open its archives, “come to terms with its past” as well as recognize the genocide. By doing so, Turkey would pave the way for a “genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples”. The document calls on Turkey to restore its diplomatic ties with Armenia, open the border and strive for economic integration.[192] The European Parliament further called on all European Union member states to recognize the Armenian Genocide.[193]

On April 17, 2015, Armenian religious and secular organizations in Georgia (country) have petitioned the country’s parliament to begin formal debates on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.[194]

On April 18, 2015, the Austrian People’s Party and the Social Democratic Party of Austria will present a resolution that condemns the Armenian Genocide to the Parliament of Austria.[195]

On April 19, 2015, thousands of people took part in a commemoration ceremony in Canada's largest city Toronto, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The rally, held at Queen's Park, was attended by a number of officials from all levels of government, including Premier Kathleen Wynne, Defence Minister Jason Kenney and Toronto Mayor John Tory. Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan also spoke at the rally and said he’s heartened to see so much public support for the Armenian community and recognition of its history, despite the Turkish government’s opposition. Canada officially recognized the massacre as a genocide in 2004. [196]

On April 20, 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the government of Germany would support a resolution in parliament on Friday declaring the Armenian Genocide an example of genocide. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition, including the Christian Democratic Union of Germany will vote on April 24 to label the murders as genocide as defined by the United Nations in 1948. The lower house vote is on the same day as leaders meet in the Armenian capital of Yerevan to commemorate the massacre that began in April 1915. Germany has been under pressure from some of its European partners to follow their example and more fully recognize the depth of the Armenian tragedy.[197]

On April 20, 2015, United States Senator Ted Cruz called for the full recognition of the Armenian Genocide in an address to the Armenian Church of Austin on the steps of the Texas State Capitol. “100 years ago, the world was too silent as the Armenian people suffered a horrific genocide,” said Cruz. Cruz is running for the Republican Party nomination in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. [198]

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