• Sweden edition
 

Reinfeldt denounces genocide vote

Published: 15 Mar 2010 08:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Mar 2010 08:15 GMT+01:00

Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Saturday in a bid to distance the Swedish government from a parliamentary vote which recognized the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Reinfeldt called Erdogan, who had previously cancelled a planned state visit to Sweden after the vote, to voice "his sadness and say that his government absolutely did not share the decision," Ankara said in a statement.

Blaming the vote on "domestic politics," Reinfeldt said his government was "ready to do the necessary so that this unfounded decision does not harm bilateral relations," according to the text.

The Swedish prime minister also assured Erdogan that the parliament's move did not weaken Stockholm's support of Turkey's EU accession ambitions.

Going against the government's advice, the Swedish parliament voted by a narrow margin on Thursday to recognise the "genocide of Armenians" and other ethnic groups, during the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.

Ankara quickly recalled its ambassador and cancelled a visit by Erdogan to Sweden after the vote, which came just days after a similar move by a US Congressional panel.

In remarks to Sweden's TT news agency, Reinfeldt said that he had expressed to his Turkish counterpart "regrets following the parliament's decision because it politicizes history."

According to the Turkish statement, Erdogan "strongly insisted on the disappointment" felt in Turkey over the vote, while recognizing that the government was against it.

He also called for "measures to repair the situation."

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:29 March 15, 2010 by peropaco
As of late, Fredrik Reinfeldt is acting more like the spineless SD.
10:55 March 15, 2010 by bolababu
Sweden is obviously failing in her bid to imprint herself as some kind of european super-power in our minds. In the last week alone, Vilks and then this. Sweden may be desperate to get attacked, lose a few of her citizens as collateral damage and have a valid excuse to invade other countries along with her allies as i am sure that the Swedish military is not capable of doing that on its own.
11:24 March 15, 2010 by Renfeh Hguh
@peropaco

and how does Reinfeldt trying to tackle the problems caused by some idiotic Swedish politicians debating and wanting to vote on a long dead issue that should never need to be discussed in Swedish politics make him spineless.

What you want him to support these idiots and become a laughing stock on the world stage?

There is a time and place to pick a fight and this is certainly neither.

I think the name of every politician who supported the vote should be published so that everyone will know to never vote for those tax wating idiots again.
11:41 March 15, 2010 by Audrian
Bolabbabu is correct. Sweden should keep itself out of the inconsistent, and greed dominated superpower politics. Over 23 genocide were committed since WWII. As usuall the US and its allies will raise them when it suited them. Armenia is the limelight because of a possible military base that this might offer and thus continue to encircle Russia.

The problem with this strategy is to can force Russia use nuclear bombs in self defense. It is a self-defeating strategy.
13:02 March 15, 2010 by zircon
The truth is simple and free of charge.
13:23 March 15, 2010 by NickM
Right. So, Reinfeldt is apologizing for a democratic vote. Democracy is wrong then according to him.

Now you can see just how contemptuous of democracy Sweden's centre-right really are.
14:24 March 15, 2010 by sweco1
Yes is it nice to see some people of back bone in Sweden want to shed light on one of the genocide that took place during WW1.
14:33 March 15, 2010 by Puffin
So Reinfledt is apologising for a democratic vote in the very parliament where his Alliance coalition is in the majority??? .........
16:54 March 15, 2010 by Audrian
Re Puffin

In pre-Iraq all Senators and congress members voted to give Bush a free hand in using military force where ever without constraints. Only a few voted against the bill. With exception of Israel lobby and extreme right wingers, the majority think it was a mistake. Very often democraces can be influenced by demagogues to do the wrong thing particularly in foreign policy where the interest of multinationals and military industrial complex (USA) dominates. When such situation arises it is upto individuals to oppose it as vigorously as possible.
20:19 March 15, 2010 by vladd777
frankly i think swedes should have been asked to vote on this matter. genocide or no genocide, this is a politically manipulated issue. from what i have read what happened seems to have been a religious 'cleansing'of minorities...the minorities being christians. if anything it should teach us that war leads to destruction and devastation.

http://bibleprobe.com/christianmartyrs-armenia.htm
21:48 March 15, 2010 by Nemesis
So Rheinfelt is criticising a democratic vote which has criticised the actions of a then dictatorship in killing over a million people.

What next? Will Rheinfelt apologise to Hitler?

Rheinfelt shoudl shut up as he is obviously an apologist idiot.
22:29 March 15, 2010 by diegoveggie
oh.. good old Reinfeldt ignoring history once more
23:16 March 15, 2010 by O.S.
Then what now ? so Sweden recognized it as a genocide, will it bring the back the dead? what was it called for in the first place?

The whole genocide vote is purely idiotic and money wasting.
23:55 March 15, 2010 by Greg in Canada
Reinfeldt is selling out his own country and allowing Turkey to continue denying a tragic event in history. Tell us Mr. Reinfeldt - did the Armenian massacre happen or did it not?
02:10 March 16, 2010 by askin
Does any of you or any member of the parliament who thinks it was genocide knows the facts of 1915?

1. It was during the times of Ottoman Empire - not Turkish Republic which is completely a different state. Turkish Republic kicked out of Turkey the last Ottoman Sultan. Armenians murdered as revenge of a non-existing genocide, over 80 Turkish Republic diplomats.Why?

2- Ottoman Army, during the war against the British, had a German general. Armenians who wanted the protection of the Ottoman army, were placed behind the Ottoman army. Then they

started to shoot at the Ottoman army from the behind. German general in command ordered the Armenians to be deported from the region to the south to Syria, Lebanon and as far as Yemen.

3.Swedish officers were called in as observers for this deportation. Their reports are in the Swedish archives and state clearly there was no genocide.

Ottomans paid 1 silver coin to each Armenian per day- half to children. Due to hardships on the way (no food, no water, no transportation) many died both from the Armenians and the Ottoman soldiers. Swedish officers' reports say Ottoman soldiers killed no Armenian. There was no genocide.
03:36 March 16, 2010 by Davey-jo
I love the idea that because it was the Ottoman empire that did the deed that the Turkish state can just wash it's hands and say "it weren't me mate, they done it"! Mustafa Gemal aka Ataturk was an Ottoman soldier. All the creators of the modern Turkish state were Ottoman soldiers and politicians, they all had their hands dipped in the blood of this massacre. Turkey must admit it's involvement and guilt then we can move on. We cannot admit the Turkish state to the EU whilst it continues to criminalise anyone who evens mentions this hideous episode in Turkeys history.

@askin

There are those who say that there was no massacre of jews by Germany as well, no-one takes them seriously, as no-one takes your claim seriously either.
04:54 March 16, 2010 by heu
@askin

Do you have any reference for those claims? Or do you remember them from the 1910's?

In fact there are reports from the Swedish representatives that confirm the massacre.
07:45 March 16, 2010 by Renfeh Hguh
@Nemesis

You make it sound like the vote was criticising the actions of the current Turkish leadership.

It happened 95 years ago under the Ottoman empire which whilst it may be where the modern Turkey came from, it is not anything to do with modern Turkey.

Andrea pull your head in, take a deep breath and relax.

I cannot believe anyone could think that a vote about ancient history has any benefits other than to stir up a diplomatic feud with modern Turkey who has every right to be offended.

This issue really brings out the anti-Turkish racists.
08:37 March 16, 2010 by Elton John
Would someone please tell me why a decision made in Sweden will hurt the Turkey-Armenian relations? It feels kind of childish as if Bill hitting Bull results in Bull hitting Lisa. Why would Bull hit Lisa when it was Bill who made Bull sad?
18:06 March 16, 2010 by phantomdissenter
The following is taken from the text of the motion that the Swedish Parliament passed. Keep in mind, the below are only some of the Swedish witnesses to the crimes. There are hundreds of reports from American, German, Italian, Swiss, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, Turkish, British, and Dutch witnesses as well.

New research at Uppsala University witnesses also about a genuine Swedish knowledge of the 1915 genocide. Swedish Foreign Ministry and General Staff Head Quarters were fully informed about the ongoing annihilation through reports which the Swedish Ambassador Per Gustaf August Cosswa Anckarsvärd and the Swedish Military Attaché Einar af Wirsén (both stationed in Constantinople) sent to Stockholm. Among

others one can read the following:

â~@¢ Anckarsvärd, July 6, 1915: "Mr. Minister, The persecutions of the Armenians have reached hair-raising proportions and all points to the fact that the Young Turks want to seize the opportunity, since due to different reasons there are no effective external pressure to be feared, to once and for all put an end to the Armenian question. The means for this are quite simple and consist of the extermination of the Armenian nation."

â~@¢ Anckarsvärd, September 2, 1915: "The six so-called

Armenian vilayets seem to be totally cleansed from, at least, its Armenian-Catholic Armenians... It is obvious that the Turks are taking the opportunity to, now during the war, exterminate the Armenian nation so that when the peace comes no Armenian question longer exists."

â~@¢ Envoy Ahlgren, August 20, 1917: "The high prices continue

to climb...There are several reasons:... and finally the strong decreasing of labour power, caused partly by the mobilisation but partly also by the extermination of the Armenian race".

In his memoirs "Memories from Peace and War" (1942), Wirsén dedicatedan entire chapter to the genocide. In "The Murder of a Nation", Wirsén writes that:

"Officially, these [the deportations] had the goal to move the entireArmenian population to the steppe regions of Northern Mesopotamia and Syria, but in reality they aimed to exterminate the Armenians, whereby the pure Turkish element in Asia Minor would achieve a dominating position.... The annihilation of the Armenian nation in Asia Minor must upset all human feelings. The way in which the Armenian issue was solved was hair-raising."

In addition to these, there are numerous eyewitness accounts which missionaries and field workers such as Alma Johansson, Maria Anholm, Lars Erik Högberg, E. John Larson, Olga Moberg, Per Pehrsson and others published. Hjalmar Branting was the very first person, who long before Lemkin, used the term genocide ("folkmord") when he, on March 26, 1917, called the persecutions against the Armenians as "an organized and systematic genocide, worse than what we ever have seen in Europe".
23:02 March 16, 2010 by atriple
What have we here, another spineless politician?

Mr. Reinfeldt why not grow a pair of balls and refuse to be gagged by a foreign government?

Maybe it is not too late for you to grow a pair.
02:22 March 17, 2010 by soultraveler3
Agreed, it's well past time for you to grow a pair Mr.Reinfeldt. What a sad day.
19:16 March 17, 2010 by planet.sweden
Fredrik Reinfeldt just plummeted in my estimation.

So parliament's decision "politicizes history." Eh right, and with good reason. Just as Holocaust history is political, the point is to avoid a repeat. Only by continued condemnation can we do that.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed as the first genocide of the 20th century and the inspiration for Adolf Hitler.

Now Reinfeldt is distancing himself from a vote condemning that event. His pitiful display only makes future genocide more likely.

You have to wonder if the Swedes will ever develop a backbone...?
22:34 March 17, 2010 by svenskdod
This is stupid... Whoever even mentions that this mass murder is not genocide has some real ethical issues they need to work out. Maybe invest in a shrink, or just find some humanity?

@askin, you're an idiot mate...
15:25 March 18, 2010 by StuartM
It was indeed a long time ago but unlike the Germans the Turks have never apologised for the genocide they perpetrated or even recognised its existence so I think the vote is a good thing as a means to challenge this nationalistic denial which continues to stifle the debate in Turkey today, not least with regards to the Kurds who are still today denied some of their most fundamental rights and freedoms.

Reinfeldt is indeed a spineless apologist, not just with regards to this but with regards to many of the injustices taking place today. Why's he not doing more for example to condemn Israel's brutal oppression of the Palestinians? Sweden needs another Palme who says things as they are and doesn't let themselves be intimidated by the rich and powerful.
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