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Sweden lags on Turkey genocide recognition

Rebecca Martin · 12 Apr 2011, 14:06

Published: 12 Apr 2011 14:06 GMT+02:00

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“It is the way the have stifled it which is surprising - how they have refused to comment on it - just like Turkey did for a good 95 years,“ Vahagn Avedian, spokesperson for the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden told the Local.

The motion to recognize the genocide of Armenians and other ethnic groups - Chaldeans, Syrians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks - was passed in the Riksdag in March last year.

Though it had the backing of members of five of the seven Swedish parliamentary parties, the vote's outcome was uncertain until the very last minute as the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs had recommended a rejection.

The government was against, and both Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and foreign minister Carl Bildt had dissociated themselves from the motion.

"We think it is a mistake to politicise history," Bildt wrote on his personal blog at the time.

But with four centre-right politicians choosing to vote with the opposition, the resolution was eventually passed in March last year, by a single vote.

Turkey immediately elected to recall its ambassador to Sweden, Zergün Korutürk.

Two weeks later she was back in Sweden.

Before her departure from Turkey, she told reporters in Ankara that her return became possible only after the Swedish government distanced itself from the parliament's decision.

"The Swedish government has clearly said that the decision would not be put into practice," Korutürk was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying.

A year later, it does seem as if the Swedish government has done little to implement the Riksdag’s decision. According to SR, the Riksdag were recently informed that ‘the question is under preparation’.

The government’s failure to act has drawn criticism from both the opposition and from within their own parties.

“They have put the request at the bottom of a drawer and probably thrown away the key as well. When the Riksdag makes this kind of decision and urges the government to act, I think that it is reasonable to expect them to do so, “ Fredrik Malm, spokesman on foreign policy for the Liberal Party, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

“I think that it is fairly provoking that we have a foreign minister who isn’t popularly elected who chooses to openly ignore and work against a decision taken by us, the people’s representatives,” Hans Linde, Green party MP, said to SR.

Story continues below…

Last year, Armenians in Sweden were jubilant over the Riksdag’s decision. Today, the joy has turned somewhat sour.

“Everyone I have spoken to – not just Armenians but other ethnic groups too- is very disappointed,” Avedian told The Local.

Although a similar outcome had been expected, no one thought that it would go this far.

“Despite all the talk of human rights, freedom of speech and solidarity, it all comes down to power politics in the end,” Avedian told The Local.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:10 April 12, 2011 by glamshek
When shall Sweden stop taking its dictation from USA and Israel ?
14:20 April 12, 2011 by Nemesis
Turkey committed genocide in World War 1. Adolf Hitler publicly spoke about it in the late 1930's as an inspirational event.

Sweden should publicly apologise for its refusal to recognise the genocide of the Armenians.
14:43 April 12, 2011 by johnny1939
We should recognize the Armenian genocide w/ the thought that we have an eye on you because of past history if you want to be in our circle behave!
15:04 April 12, 2011 by gplusa
100 years ago, people. Time to let it go.
16:00 April 12, 2011 by truthworthy
This is probably why Armenia is so behind turkey when it comes to development because they are addicted to the past. Move on people.

and the way, Sweden has no business or interest to recognize or reject this.
16:30 April 12, 2011 by Prat
How about recognizing the genocide of Native Americans? Their marginalization continues - vilifying films are still shown on television of bloodthirsty savages being gunned down by righteous settler / squatters.

Much like the Zionist land grab taking place now.
16:45 April 12, 2011 by glamshek
Sweden should rather start talking about the genocide of royals in Bahrain. The Bahraini government is trying to kill its people who are demanding change in system. I think if Sweden has the balls, it should dare to talk against Saudis, Bahrainis and Israel rather than Turkey which is having a very constructive and balancing role in the region nowadays.
16:49 April 12, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
The government has been slow for the same reason thay are slown in everything: Turkish genocide, Jas Gripen planes to Libya, improvement of helath benefits, stopping criminality, etc, etc. Well, well, some people's children
17:40 April 12, 2011 by engagebrain

What has the Armenian genocide to do with the US and Israel.

It happened in the 1914-18 war.

The genocide is pretty well documented but it is a crime even to discuss it in Turkey.
21:14 April 12, 2011 by nevon
It's not a crime to discuss it in Turkey. The law used to prosecute people who acknowledged the Armenian genocide was amended and is not longer used. There are plenty of Turkish authors/journalists who openly acknowledge the genocide.

In my opinion the issue of the Armenian genocide has long since turned into a escalating transnational staring contest between butt-hurt nationalist Armenians and their obsession and equally butt-hurt nationalist Turks and their pride. For all other nations, it's something that they can use as leverage against the Turkish Republic or as voter-bait for their respective Armenian diaspora.
21:29 April 12, 2011 by sfk

I agree with you... Why we, Swedish, do not recognize what American did to native American and now they are doing in Iraq...Why not to discuss what French did in Algeria or other countries exploition of other classical western countries and their dirty works in those poor countries...

In addition to this what we are doing in Afghanistan... Why Sweden's nationals party following in the butt of nato...

Can't we focus on our own problems in state of spending our time for the lobbies' wish...
21:52 April 12, 2011 by Armenica
@ nevon: You seriously need a news update about what is and is not in Turkey: Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk gets fined / http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=orhan-pamuk-will-pay-compensation-for-his-words-court-decided-2011-03-27

100 years or not, the Crime of Genocide does not have a statue of limitation. Turkey knows it quite well and that is why it does everything to hold the discussion on this level, prohibiting the issue to move to next level, i.e. what happens after we agree that it actually happened.

What USA did to its natives, France did in Algeria or any other nation did to some one else is quite irrelevant in recognising what transpired in Turkey during WWI. That fact remains the same, i.e. a genocide was committed towards the Armenian population and other Christians. The rest is politics.
22:16 April 12, 2011 by Just_Kidding
Lets say that every body recognizes the genocide of Armenians in wwi. What then? Does Sweden also recognizes the genocide in Khojali against unarmed population by Armenians in 1990's? Do they recognize the genocide in Bosni? This genocide recognition game is easily played on the Turks to keep them embrassed, while Germans, South Africans and Australians are treated as the cool kids of human history.
22:28 April 12, 2011 by nevon

I think it is you who needs an update;


This is the infamous "insulting Turkishness" law that was used to prosecute people for well... pretty much anything including acknowledging the Armenian genocide. Since it was amended in 2008, prosecuting people under this law requires the approval of the justice minister and he has yet to approve any cases; rather he's pretty much dropped all the previous cases including the one against Orhan Pamuk. It's a defunct law at this point.

You're confused because the case you linked is a private one where a number of individuals sued Orhan Pamuk (he wasn't fined, he paid compensation). I think that's pretty ridiculous too (and it'll probably be quashed by the same appeals court that insisted it be heard), but it's not a public case, the law you refer to is not in use (and was not used in this case) and it's not a crime to talk about the Armenian genocide or acknowledge it in Turkey (although I'm sure you won't be terribly popular if you do so). That's simply factually wrong.
01:02 April 13, 2011 by Greysuede
It seems to be a good business for some to monopolize the human sufferings caused during the war times of history eternally. To define a genocide in its genuine merits in avoidance of falsifications and misleading the new generation from the real events of history must be up to historians to work it out rather than politicians to speculate over it. Well said, Sweden have got nothing to do with it otherwise Sweden will have to recognize the genocide of civilians of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Nagasaki/Hiroshima (A-BOMBING), Native Americans, Vietnamese, Koreans, Algerians and particularly Khojali genocide of Azeri in 90's at the hands of Armenians themselves. List goes on and on...

Adolf Hitler is a smart
04:52 April 13, 2011 by engagebrain
The murder of 1 million people should not be ignored or denied.
06:54 April 13, 2011 by Da Goat
Build a bridge and get over it people they are not coming back! there is nothing that can be done ! greed and politicising over these things is just plain wrong !
08:49 April 13, 2011 by RobinHood
The evidence does seem pretty overwhelming that hundreds of thousands of Armenians "dissapeared", but there's a whole list of similar events stretching way back into history. Either Sweden recognises all of them, or none of them. Either way suits me. It's far more important that mainstream history professors recognise and record what did or didn't happen in Armenia 95 years ago than a bunch of politicians.
12:42 April 13, 2011 by Armenica
@nevon: Well, I won't waste time on trying to convince you, since you're apparently missing both the big picture and the details. Paragraph 301 was never abandoned, but it's has been given cosmetic changes: "insult to Turkishness" was replaced with "insult to Turkish State" and the maximum penalty was reduced from three to two years of imprisonment. It doesn't take a genius nor a law expert to read in between the lines.

As it goes for the decision, the Swedish public along with the media were and are quite uninformed about it. That's why it easy to say that a parliament shouldn't decide upon history. But that's what they didn't this time. Instead they confirmed the result of the academic world:


To quote the signatories of the petition back in 2008: "Refusal to recognize established fact based on qualitative and quantitative research may be regarded as being tantamount to denial. The researchers have done their job in establishing the reality of the Armenian Genocide. Now, the turn has come for the political leaders to fulfill their responsibility by recognizing this calamity for what it was." http://www.itwasgenocide.armenica.org

The crime of genocide is not a historic matter, but highly judicial. It it not the academicians who can make the Turkish State to end its denial policy, but other equal states and governments. That is why the Swedish parliament, along with the other 20 or so other countries, totally correct in their decision to verify the reality of the genocide and calling upon Turkey to ends its denial and revisionism. The Riksdag has done either more or less.
17:58 April 13, 2011 by fehmi

Armenian thesis of genocide is denied by their ancestors themselves!

The ancestors of the Armenians who made their history are the real deniers. As you know, whoever disagree with the Armenian genocide claims are labelled as 'deniers', as 'agents of Turkish government', or 'people hired by the Turkish government' or 'disingenous scholars/authorities' Turkish nationalists', 'Turkish racists'. And, here are the names of Armenians who comply with the these terms:

"Garo Pasdermichan (Pastirmaciyan), the Ottoman deputy of Erzurum and commander of all the Armenian officials and soldiers of the Ottoman Third Army which joined the Russian Army in 1914, was the main denier and Turkish racist. Because, he wrote in his book 'Why Armenia Should Be Free' (Boston, Dec.1918, Hairenik Publishing Company p. 16-17) that annual Congress of Armenian Party Dashnagzoutiun was held in Erzurum in August 1914, before the war broke, and Turkish emissaries offered Dashnaks an autonomous Armenia (made up of Russian Armenia and the three Turkish vilayets of Erzurum, Van and Bitlis) under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire', if they joined the Turkish side and stopped supporting the Russians. He also stated that the executive committee of the Dashnagzoutiun rejected the proposal! The Armenian members of this parley were the well-known publicist E.Aknouni, the representative from Van, A.Vramian, and the director of the Armenian schools in the district of Erzurum, Mr Rostom.

Another main denier was Boghos Noubar Pasha, the Armenian National Delegation President in The Paris Peace Conference 1919 who also stated that the Turks offered them autonomy in August 1914, much before the deportation, but they rejected this proposal and placed themselves without hesitation on the side of the Entente Powers from whom they expected liberation [Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States The Paris Peace Conference 1919 (United States Government Printing Office, 1948, Vol IV, p 139-157)].

Armenian Boghos Noubar Pasha, who told that '150 000 Armenian volunteers in Russian Army were the only forces against Turks' (Times of London , 1919 Jan 30 Link: http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2007/10/2013-150-000-armenian-volunteers-in.html) was obviously a denier and agent of Turkish government.
21:37 April 13, 2011 by Armenica
@ fehmi: Now, this is really fascinating information. From denial of facts to inventing ones of their own. Nevertheless, I must ask you to at least put some efforts behind this kind of forgeries so that they can't be revealed this easy.

1) Armen Garo Pasdermadjian has never denied the fact about genocide. His son, Hrant Pasdermadjian, was the author of one of the best volumes of Armenian history, in which the genocide was described in detail.

2) Dashnaktsoutyoun rejected the proposal, which was about Eastern Armenians betraying the Russian state:

There remained one significant obstacle to the twin Ottoman ideologies. Even with the hoped-for collapse of Russia, the Christian non-Turkish Armenians were an obvious hindrance, geographically separating the Ottoman Turks from the rest of their Tatar cousins by the Caspian Sea in the Russian Empire, the one chink in the chain of Turanian peoples stretching all the way to Mongolia. The leaders of the Union and Progress Committee first prompted the Armenians to start an armed revolt in Eastern Armenia and Transcaucasia, in return for which they were promised self-governance for Eastern Armenia and the neighbouring areas in Western Armenia after the war. The leadership of the Dashnak party rejected this offer during its Erzurum Congress in August 1914, replying that, in the eventual war between Turkey and Russia, the Armenians were obliged to fight for their respective host country. As Winston Churchill remarked, "the Armenians preferred war, involving killing brothers on two fronts, to the Turkish suggestion of treason against the Russians."*

The Armenian refusal angered the Turkish elite, and once Turkey had joined Germany in the war in October 1914, they decided to rid themselves of the Armenians once and for all. At the beginning of September, Turkey had violently expelled the Norwegian observer, Hoff, thus violating the treaty of February 8, 1914, and emptying Western Armenia of all the representatives of the western major powers and possible witnesses of the events to follow.

2) Poghos Nubar Pasha was one of the main figures of the Armenian movement and the negotiators of the Armenian delegation at different peace conferences. He did everything to ensure the establishment of the Armenian Republic and the unification of Western and Eastern Armenia. He has often been accused by the Turkish side for being a lier and exaggerating the Armenian figures in order to persuade the Entente to support the creation of Armenia according to the borders decided by the Woodrow Wilson arbitration.

So, to sum up, your assertions present a new level of fantasy and are made up information where either you have no clue what the texts you've read are saying, or you're reading very very selectively.

* Winston Churchill, The World Crisis, vol. V, London, 1929, p. 404
22:08 April 13, 2011 by dikeM

If you read something other than propaganda books you would know that there is no such quote!! According to Heath W. Lowry

Washington, D.C.

Political Communication and Persuasion, Volume 3, Number 2 (1985)

Abstract This article traces the history of a purported Adolf Hitler quote which cites the perecent of the world's lack of reaction to the fate of Armenians during the First World War as a justification for his planned extermination of European Jewry in the course of the Second World War. By a detailed examination of the genesis of this quotation the author demonstrates that there is no historical basis for attributing such a statement to Hitler...

The latest British governemeents acceptance that the "blue book", which Armenian claims are based upon, have been declared by the government itself to be a WW1 time propaganda material. Yes you heard it right!
22:13 April 13, 2011 by dikeM
@Armenica, Why dont you read your very own first Pms confessions about what really happened; ARMENIAN LEADER'S CONFESSIONS ‘… The war with us was inevitable... We had not done all that was necessary for us to have done to evade war. We ought to have used peaceful language with the Turks...We had no information about the real strength of the Turks and relied on ours. This was the fundamental error. We were not afraid of war because we thought we could win... Our army was well fed and well armed and [clothed] but it did not fight. The troops were constantly retreating and deserting their positions ; they threw away their arms and dispersed in the villages. ...In spite of the fact that the Armenians had better material and better support, their armies lost. .... the advancing Turks fought only against the regular soldiers ; they did not carry the battle to the civilian sector. ...the Turkish soldiers were well-disciplined and that there had not been any massacres…' Source: The 1923 Bucharest Manifesto of Hovhannes Katchaznouni, the first PM of the Independent Armenian Republic, published by the Armenian Information Service Suite 7D, 471 Park Ave., New York 22 – 1955.
22:16 April 13, 2011 by dikeM
“…We have first hand information and evidence of Armenian atrocities against our people (Jews). Members of our family witnessed the murder of 148 members of our family near Erzurum, Turkey, by Armenian neighbors, bent on destroying anything and anybody remotely Jewish and/or Muslim... Armenians were in league with Hitler in the last war, on his premise to grant themselves government if, in return, the Armenians would help exterminate Jews. Armenians were also hearty proponents of the anti-Semitic acts in league with the Russian Communists…”

Source: Elihu Ben Levi, Vacaville, California. San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 1983 ***
22:16 April 13, 2011 by dikeM
“…To validate a spurious genocide allegations, the Armenians curry favor with the Jewish people, and manipulate the Holocaust tragedy to gain some undeserved recognition from this uniquely Jewish experience. Historical evidences point to a devious Armenian collusion with Hitler to exterminate the Jews during WW II. Today, no matter how much the Armenians try to conceal this heinous episode from the public knowledge the Armenian conspiracy with Hitler is in the history books - indelibly. Soon it will be in the public conscience too… In early 1930s, when Hitler ascended to power, he began cultivating the Armenians to use their long-standing and strong anti-semitic feelings in his plans and policy. The Armenians, through their publications, radio broadcasts and meetings supported and cheered the Nazis on their attacks on Jews. Alfred Rosenberg, who was to become later Hitler's Minister of the Occupied Territories, declared that the Armenians were Indo-European, or Aryans, which honored them and put them in the same league with the Nazis. In Hitler's foreign policy the Armenians fitted very nicely too. Hitler's future invasion plans of Russia provided a golden opportunity for the Armenians to liberate what they considered to be "Historic Armenia" from the Soviet as well as the Turkish rule…”

22:38 April 13, 2011 by Armenica
Right, dismiss the reports, the testimonies and witness accounts of numerous people and quote one person who had last a country and 1/3 of his people.

You keep repeating that, but it won't make it undone. The denial of the Armenian genocide is becoming as ridiculous as dismissing the Holocaust. Twenty or even ten years ago, people could question it, wondering "well, the Turks have a point there about "civil war", "traitors", "enemy collaborators", "separatists" etc. But, now days, with the research at hand, it's plain embarrassing to stubbornly just deny facts. Whether you like it or not, the Armenian Genocide is second to the Holocaust the most studied case of genocide in modern times. Give it up. It will hurt less if you make your peace with the bitter truth and accept it.
11:37 April 14, 2011 by Svartskalle
1. It is not a Swedish, American or any other's business to address the issues of genocides of past in parliaments and governments. In all cases it was done for own gain, has nothing to do with the concept of solidarity with those who suffered. All democracies of the current time were involved in the past genocides in a way.

2. The decision of the Swedish Parliament was wrong, but the government's refusal to follow the law voted in the parliament, no matter wrong or right was a disaster for Swedish democracy and the state first of all. That shows that the parliament is subordinated to the government in reality.

3. It is worth to mention that the association of Armenian organization never cared about human rights record in Armenia now (a brutal dictatorship), never protested against constantly ongoing abuse of Armenians in their motherland, but is eager to criticize Turkey for its 100 years old past.

Vahe Avetian (Armenien)
11:45 April 14, 2011 by oalici
Armenian genocide is one of the greatest historical lies and a complete falsification of the events at that time. Sweden has no right to decide on the nature of the events at that time. it takes a life time of study to decide on that has really happened. it is too important o be left to a bunch of small minded and politically pressured parlementarians. armenians may be well organised in sweden to push swedish parliamanent . but that will never change the real historical facts.
20:45 April 14, 2011 by Abbot
It's interesting that Muslims and their apologists never stop mentioning the Crusades and they ended over 7 centuries ago but some here think the Armenians should 'get over it' because their genocide happened nearly a century ago.
09:51 April 15, 2011 by planet.sweden
How can Sweden pretend that it wouldn't tolerate another genocide when it hasn't even got the balls to condemn a past one?
02:43 December 23, 2011 by Alecx
planet.sweden -So its pretty clear that Sweden will tolerate future genocides..(and those will definitely take place soon or later) so and all of the other nations that didn't yet recognized Armenian genocide.

Someone above has mentioned 1 million dead.. this is not true, turks exterminated not just 1,5 millions Armenians but also 700,000 Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and christian Syrians in total number of victims close to 3 million,

It is impossible to move on without accepting the past. Some people are just too dumb to grasp this simple truth. Sweden just like all of the other civilized countries should condemn such.. well, i really have no words to describe this horrible event.
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