Swedish Parliament Recognizes the Genocide

By Peter Vinthagen Simpson, The Local, 11 March 2010

Though the motion had the backing of members of five of the seven Swedish parliamentary parties, the vote’s outcome was uncertain to the last as the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs had recommended its rejection.

But with several centre-right politicians ignoring the recommendation and choosing to vote with the opposition, the motion was eventually passed by a single vote.

By Peter Vinthagen Simpson, The Local, 11 March 2010

Though the motion had the backing of members of five of the seven Swedish parliamentary parties, the vote’s outcome was uncertain to the last as the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs had recommended its rejection.

But with several centre-right politicians ignoring the recommendation and choosing to vote with the opposition, the motion was eventually passed by a single vote.

Speaking to The Local prior to the vote, Left Party foreign policy spokesperson Hans Linde expressed his view that the time had come for Sweden to take a stand on the issue.

"Firstly, to hinder any repeat and to learn from history. Secondly, to encourage the development of democracy in Turkey – which includes dealing with their own history. Thirdly, to redress the wrongs committed against the victims and their descendants," Linde said.

The foreign affairs committee, in its comments on the motion, had argued for an open debate on the issue. It also stated that the persecution of the Armenians and other ethnic groups in 1915 would have constituted genocide according to the definition adopted by the United Nations in its 1948 genocide convention if it "had it been in force at the time."

But the committee stated that it does not consider it parliament’s role to rule on human rights issues and that this should instead be addressed by "open research, open access to facts, and free debate."

Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt agreed with the committee’s position in comments on his blog on Thursday. Under the heading "Don’t politicize history," Bildt wrote:

"A politicizing of history in this way risks undermining ongoing reconciliation processes, plays into the hands of those opposing normality in Armenia and reform in Turkey… and creating new tension in Swedish society."

The committee concluded in its comments that the Turkish government has in recent years made some movement on the issue, with conferences arranged on the subject as well as broader media debate.

The Swedish parliament has voted on the issue before, even approving a report in 2000 recognizing the disappearance of as many as 2.5 million Armenians, Chaldeans, Syrians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks from April 1915 as genocide. But the recognition was later withdrawn "on a technicality", Hans Linde told The Local.

"The parliament also voted against recognition (by 245 to 37) in 2008. The difference this time is that the Social Democrats have changed their position," he said.

Carl Bildt claimed in his statement that the Social Democrat parliamentary group was forced to change standpoint on the issue as a result of a party congress vote, arguing that there are "several that feel deep unease over this."

According to Sweden’s Living History Forum, most researchers are now in agreement that the massacres constituted genocide according to the accepted 1948 UN definition. The exception to this is Turkish researchers. The Turkish government has never recognized the events as a genocide and it is illegal in Turkey to claim that it occurred.

The Living History Forum is a Swedish public authority which works with issues on tolerance, democracy and human rights from both a national and international perspective.

The Local has made attempts to contact the foreign policy spokespersons at the Centre and Liberal (Folkpartiet) parties for a comment.

26 comments
  1. It’s about time

    It’s about time.

    In 1919 the highest Turkish Military Court pronounced the verdict of guilty against all 36 Ittihad ve Terakke (Union and Progress – The Young Turks) politcal party’s government members.  The judgment was printed in the Turkish Official Gazette, written in Arabic Alphabet. Soon after the Ottoman Empire signed the Sevres treaty, and in so doing accepted its guilt de jure.

    Mustafa Kemal in 1921 collected all the Official Journals that had the court’s verdict. Reportedly one copy was saved from destruction, now translated by Prof. V. Daderian of Zorian institude and soon to be published.

    One guilty official was hanged; others were out of the country and escaped punishment.

    Cited facts must be recognized by all, specially by the O.H.M.S. Government, which
    kept  30 Ittihad ve Terakke condemned persons in Malta and later let them return back to Turkey safely. Kemal appointed them to highest Government posts.

    Oil was a major factor, and the signatory to the armistice were all to benefit. The discovery of oil in the19th century prompted a rush to the Middle East and the Caucasus. This rush was a strong
    factor for 5 Armenian genocides in row: 1895, 1909, 1915, 1921, 1922 and several more
    in between and after.

    Today too petroleum and gas deals are playing a major role in not recognizing the Armenian Genocide. People speak in parliaments, but powers of the day did not interfere when genocide was committed at various times. Interests and profits are centre stage and not morality, human rights and genocide.

  2. Finally, some individuals…

    Finally, some individuals, some nations, and some countries are coming to their senses and are starting to see the difference between right and wrong, and are putting politics aside. 

    THANK YOU SWEDEN

  3. Who is next?

    Of around 182 countries at the UN, 179 are left for Turkey to recall the Ambassadors. In the last two weeks Turkish Ambassadors were recalled from US and Sweden.

    Armenia is waiting for the Turkish Ambassador to arrive and then be recalled. Let’s wait and see who is next.

    179 is a long way to go.

  4. Truth will triumph


    Let’s be patient but not complacent. Our cause is a never ending and a very long process.
    Triumph comes from lots of TRIES and UMPHS. Every one of us has a role to play in our individual ways, no matter how small that may be.

    First of all, we should not take our favouring supporters for granted. We must show our appreciation even if it be in a most humble way of a simple "Thank you" or helping them in their elections in a reciprocal manner, as an individual citizen and/or a politcal party.

  5. No one is above the power of the LORD.

    Nothing is impossible when you have faith in GOD.  Sooner or later truth will come out. May God bless Armenians who suffered throughout the whole world, got scattered around and separated.

    Blessed are those who speak the truth!

    1. God has nothing to do with it…

      Because of our belief in God we were persecuted in our history and got into this mess.  The so-called God loving America and the "God’s chosen people" are the ones who ‘play’ with our cause for their political gains.
      And just a declaration of Genocide recognition is not enough, we need to see sanctions and punishment against Turkey.  To start with, the denial of any Genocide must be a crime recognized globally, similar to the Holocaust denial.

      1. God has everything to do with it

        Arsen, it is precisely God that has to do with it. Prayer has power too and very much so, to the point that I would assert that God was the one who was with us throughout our turbulant centuries, our troubled past, in the occupations and genocides, He is the one who led us and the one who helped us, it  was our faith and our belief.

        We should not mix politics with religion, and if your faith was strong and more knowledgable you would have known that the majority of the people in the US have real connection with God not politics. 

        Our faith is holy and pure, keep it that way.

        I generally agree with the second part of your statement.

  6. Praise the Lord!!

    Lord is our rock!

    He will bring justice to all Armenians scattered all over the world.
    A time to rip, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak

    God Bless all who speak!

    Ecclesiastes 3:7

  7. Had enough of the cat and mouse games!

    While most Armenians are busy rejoicing these latest passages of genocide recognition by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the US and by the Swedish Parliament by the closest of margins, and a bitter Turkish government feverishly recalling its ambassadors to said countries for consultation, I see these events as nothing but a sad, disparaging and demeaning development to the memory of the 2.5 million Armenians, Chaldeans, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks, etc… who perished violently or were summarily uprooted from their ancestral lands.

    This all-important genocide question has now been reduced into nothing but an amateurish political ploy by which two insignificant rogue nations are trying to showcase their chauvinistic and infantile sense of self-importance and the powers of their respective lobbies to undermine each other in the eyes of the world. As you might have guessed, I am referring to Israel and Turkey.

    It is indeed a sad day for the world and in particular for the US, when foreign governments such as Israel and Turkey can dictate and set the course for foreign policy issues of the so-called strong and independent nations. 

    As we all know, the Armenian genocide issue has been debated numerous times in the past decade in the US congress, but the passage of it has always been derailed mainly due to Turkish and Israeli lobbies working in tandem to defeat it. The main reason for the recent – albeit temporary – developments can unfortunately only be attributed to the ongoing tiff between these two countries and AIPAC’s stoppage of support of Turkey’s wishes and its instructions to their cronies in the US congress to send a message to these belligerent Turks.

    I highly doubt that I may see in my lifetime a US president or a Congress that can truly stand by its convictions and do what is right for their country or humanity as a whole.

  8. So…
    Not edited

    So, with the step of Sweden now it is certain that Turkey will never open the border between Armenia and Turkey. And it is 100% that Turkey will support Azarbaijan fully within the problem between Azarbaijan and Armenia.

    On the other hand, Turkish government still insists on to let the history men deal with the issue but not the politician. They say that they are ready to open their archive, but Armenia does not accept this. So question comes; Why Does Armenia NOT ? And think a natian that has never had a land, and their only happy time in the history was when they HAVE LIVED under the controll of TURKISH AND KURDISH, how they can not see the real friends for future and how can not they see that EUROPE and USA plays like a cat with ARMENIA. Do not give permission to Armenians living in USA and who don’t send you money, They are playing their cards for USA, be sure. If Russia doesn’t exists, USA would drop a a bomb to you as well. Best Regards.

    1. Armenia Was Always A Nation

      Since when did Armenia refuse to accept Turkey opening its archives?  It is not only Armenia that is asking for those archives to be opend to all who wish to study them, BUT Armenians worldwide who were thrown like seeds in the wind from their homes, lives, families and roots in Turkey. 

      Armenia has always been a country.  It has a great history.  It was the first nation to accept Christianity–whether you believe in that as your religion or not.  So do not say that Armenians never had a nation and they had their best lives because they were living in Turkey.

      Armenians brought Turkey many great contributions through their talented people: businessmen, doctors, lawyers, artists, poets, authors, etc.  When Turkey destroyed the Armenians, and millions of others in 1915…they destroyed their greatest assests to date. As those Armenians scattered worldwide, they took those talents and gifts with them, started new lives and families and prospered wherever they went. 

      What Turkey lost or tried to destroy was the silver lining to nations throughout the globe despite those horrific of times.

    2. This is a typical example as

      This is a typical example as why Turks are left backward in civilization; their schools, political systems, and media, among other things, are censored and the truth banned, specially from their school curriculum.  Hence the new generation has no clue about their real history.

      This person shows that he is completely oblivious of history, in general.  When Armenia was a nation, Turkey was not even a race.

      As the Jews forbid discussion of the holocaust, we should forbid Denial of the Armenian Genocide, at least on our websites and forums.  Hence, not sure why keghart.com is allowing such comments to be posted!!!

      Turkish contribution to history:
      – Stealing other peoples’ culture
      – Genocide of several nations (Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, etc.)
      – Destruction
      – Killings
      – Stealing
      – Rape
      …and more

  9. Turkey is blowing smoke
    Turkey can’t touch Sweden, just as Turkey can’t touch the U.S., and just as Turkey has never made anything more than token moves against all the other countries that have recognized the Armenian Genocide. If a country puts its foot down, Turkey will back off. As for Turkey’s withdrawing its ambassador: good riddance.

  10. Answer to a Turkish posting- Title So
    " Our friend " from Turkey is asking :

    Turkish government still insists on to let the history men deal with the issue but not the politician. They say that they are ready to open their archive, but Armenia does not accept this. So question comes; Why Does Armenia NOT ?

    We have heard this statement ad infinitum. Like a parrot most Turks repeat the same mantra  and regurgitate the same …

    Obviously it is not  a denier’s interest to acknowledge that 146 genocide scholars and experts have agreed on Armenian Genocide. The historians have decided long time ago. Where was our writer from Turkey ?

    Excuse me my Turkish friend…..Did you say that Turks are ready to open archives? Where have you been? Turkish pseudo-historians ( Halacoglu & Co.) have been hollering that archives are open….which one is it ? Are they open or are they going to open?

    Just to educate our Turkish friend: Yes..Indeed some archives are open, BUT…There is a big BUT…they only deal with events of late 19th and very early 20 th Century. There is not one iota of documents dealing with the years of 1915-1920……I ask the same question why Turks do not open documents of these years?
     

    For his education on Turkish archives he should visit :Gomidas.org
                             

     

    1. Reply properly please!
      When you are replying to a specific post, please click on the reply option under the post so it will show the follow-up thread.
      You may also want to run the spell-checker on the toolbar indicated with a green check-mark and ABC.

  11. We the Armenians

     
    As I am letting young turks know I would also love for the whole world to know that Armenians are a very proud nation. The world is changing, so will the map sooner or later,  just wait and you will all see, don’t give up.

    Turkey will pay the price for committing the Genocide. Although we got scattered all over the world we became stronger.  Our cause is just and we will fight for it .

    God bless Armenia and the Armenians

  12. Turkey today and yesterday.
    What is the difference between Turkey of 1915 and Turkey of today ? Not very much. Let this be an eye opener to all Western governments who wish to see that country as a modern civilized place that wisshes to join the ranks of modern societies who recognize human rights and accept and admit their sins of the past, just as Germany did.

    1. Are you serious?

      Have you been to Turkey at all? You must be mad to claim that today’s Turkey is no different from 1915 – which of course was not Turkey but the Ottoman Empire. Very distorted I must say…
      1. What Varoujan is implying

        What Varoujan is implying is that the mentality of people have not changed.  They are still the same since the Ottoman empire.  Very easy to prove. Look at their school curriculum, check their media, their religious conflicts, political differences and you will see that they have not changed a bit during hundreds of years.

        Seems you cannot see the underlying message.

      2. Yes.. we are serious

        There is no difference between Ottoman and Turkish social mentality. I do not know anybody else in this forum but I have been to Turkey.

        As a matter of fact I lived there for 26 years. I know Turks. Ottoman or Turk  there is no differnce, as french say "Bonnet blanc, blanc bonnet"… MY Canadian friends will understand  this idiom.

        Although the legal form has changed from Empire to Republic, the basic tenets of Ottoman mentality has not changed.  It seems that I always try to educate those who post wayward misinformation.

        Did you know that when Ataturk formed the new Turkish republic 3 / 4 of Turkish National Assembly members were Ittihadist who had blood on their hands? Even one of them later became President of the Republic ( Celal Bayar).

        Thus, maybe the legal form has changed but the members were the same and the same ideology continues…Wake up Stuart.

        1. Changes in Turkey

          The "culture" of the Republic of Turkey and that of Ottoman Turkey are marginally different. Like its predecessor, the "modern" Republic of Turkey is a fascist entity. The four key "attributes" of fascism are: militarism; racism; agression; religious exclusivity. These four tenets dominate Turkey, just as they did the Ottomans.
  13. Only by a whisker, nevertheless

    Only by a whisker, nevertheless it’s enough to show Turkey that denial of this major historical mass crime committed by the Ottomans and by their murderous successor Ataturk against what was in the main civilian Armenian communities is not acceptable to civilized nations, and Turkey will continue to lose friends in the world community. Drip, drip, drip……….

    Well done, Sweden!

  14. Genocide of Armenians

    I am glad that there is so much real work going on about this……… Այրած սրտի մխիթարություն?,,,, – God, prayer and focused action. 'The truth will set us free'. (John 8:32). Not judging God by people's wrong actions is important. God is the greatest power and knows all the details and we must keep working at this and not give up (Luke 18:1-9).

    Turkey has some very powerful leverage and this country (US) and others are subject to it or susceptible to it. We must be discerning, clever and smart (խելացի, խորամանկ, աչքաբաց և հմուտ), and work at that leverage and reveal it and help difuse it. We must become stronger as a people in the world and help strenghthen the country that we do have, but as God honoring people and not people of corrupt ways and means.

    Turkey would oppose the US too if it was convenient to them and will and can change their strategy at any time if it suits them, which means they could turn on the US too. There are forces here at play that we need to know more about…… know your enemy. May God strengthen and guide us forward, and also work in the country of Turkey to bring more of it's people and others to the truth. The God of all Truth is behind the Truth.

    It is ultimately justice and truth that must prevail, otherwise others will continue to commit these barbaric crimes of huge proportions and get away with it with little or no consequence, and our ancestors and our own hearts and lives will not be at peace.

    We carry the unresolved spiritual and psychic pain of our historical past, even if we don't think we do. I hope that some folks will start to really study and research – Genocidal Post Traumatic Disorder also, specifically geared toward the Armenian genocide experience ……. We and our families have suffered greatly from unresolved Post Trauma, and part of it is speaking out and declaring the awful, ugly truth, because it is real and legitimate and needs to be recognized for what it was and continues to be, without cowering away from it.

    God's power and protection to all who persevere and work for this.

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