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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
17 June 2008 - ERAREN
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="justify">The Swedish Parliament refused last week a proposal concerning the recognition of Armenian genocide claims. The Foreign Affairs Commission, in which the proposal was initially discussed, underlined the following points.

¹t any resolution either in 1985 or any other occasion regarding the Armenians. The Armenians, in order to make parliaments pass resolutions recognizing the genocide allegations, are claiming that the UN too has recognized the “genocide”. In 1985, an Englishman named Whitaker prepared a report on genocide subject for the sub-committee of the Commission on Human Rights. In this report, the “Armenian Genocide” was named among the genocides committed in history. As a result of the objections of the Turkish representatives who were supported by some countries, this report was not accepted, but only noted. In other words, the report did not ensue. After a while, the Armenian propagandists, by referring to the same report, began to claim that the UN had recognized the Armenian genocide. When the spokesman of the UN declared that a resolution on the “genocide” did not exist, Armenian claims ceases for a while. Yet
later they continued to repeat the same allegations. The draft resolution H. RES.106 submitted to the House of Representatives the same claim on the UN recognition of the Armenian “Genocide” exits.

A few years ago, in a proposal submitted to the Swedish Parliament regarding the issue contained this claim, the concerning commission of the Parliament then declared that the UN did not adopt such a resolution. In spite of that, the same claim again surfaced this year.

The second point that the Swedish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission asserted with regards to this proposal was that the difficulties the Armenians, Assyrian/Syrians and Keldanis had faced during the last years of the Ottoman Empire would have been conceivably considered genocide had the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide gone into effect in 1915. This statement confirms that the Genocide Convention is only applicable to those cases happened after 1951 in which the Convention went into effect. In other words, it is not applicable to the 1915 incidents. To allege that the 1915 incidents would have been regarded as genocide if the 1948 Genocide Convention had gone into effect in 1915 is
merely a hypothesis, and hypothesis has no meaning as far as law concerns. However, it can be seen that the Foreign Affairs Commission, by making the statements above, tried to satisfy the Armenians and Assyrians who submitted the proposal.

The third point was that there was no agreement among the experts on what happened during the last years of the Ottoman Empire. This statement explains that there are experts who do not define the 1915 incidents as genocide. This caused strong objections of persons who submitted the proposal. A text claiming that the Armenians were the victims of genocide signed by some fifty scholars and intellectuals was distributed to the members of the Parliament; but was not effective.

The fourth and last point was related to Turkey and its allegedly still-continuing “delicate national process”. It can be presumed that the Foreign Affairs Commission meant that adopting the draft resolution would nourish the extremist groups in Turkey. It would not be correct to say some parliaments’ resolutions on genocide allegations drew the attention of extremist circles in Turkey. On the other hand, it is true that relations of Turkey with those countries have negatively affected.

On 12 June 2008, the proposal was put on vote in the Swedish Parliament. It was refused with 245 to 37 votes while one abstained. 66 members of the Parliament did not participate in the voting. Almost 70 per cent of the votes used were unfavorable to the proposal, and this is very significant.

No doubt that it was a crushing defeat for the Armenians.

On the other hand, one can say that this voting follows the new trend observed in the European Union for some time considering the Armenian Genocide allegations as a secondary issue. In this framework, the annual reports of 2006 and 2007, prepared by the European Parliament regarding Turkey’s accession to the EU, did not, unlike the previous ones, include genocide allegations. The same trend is observed in France and in the UK. The French penal law proposal aiming to punish people who deny the Armenian genocide claims was not put on the agenda of the Senate. Moreover, the British Government has stated that there is not enough evidence for the Armenian genocide claims.

It has been noted that Turkey’s refusal of the Armenian allegations, and restrictions she brings to its relations with the countries, which have recognized the Armenian claims, convinced some countries that it was preferable to have good relations with Turkey.

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