Belgium Recognizes Genocide Urges Turkey to Acknowledge Crime

BRUSSELS (Armenian News Network)–The Belgian Senate–on Thursday–passed a resolution calling on the Turkish government to "recognize the reality of the Genocide perpetrated in 1915 by the last government of the Ottoman Empire." The appeal also calls for reconciliation between the Armenian and Turkish peoples.

Apart from Greece–the Belgian Senate thus became the first parliamentary body of a country allied to Turkey through NATO to have recognized the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Thusfar–all efforts aimed at recognition were thwarted through the efforts of Turkish diplomacy.

The decision was welcomed by the Committee of Armenia’s in Belgium as expressed in a statement that read: "Belgium has become a pioneer in the matter of human and national rights. The recognition of the genocide by Belgium will be received with much joy by Armenian communities around the world. It marks a significant step toward a Turkish-Armenian dialogue and reconciliation–to which the resolution also appeals."

The resolution was co-sponsored by ten senators–including several Belgian political heavyweights.

Below is the text of that resolution:

1997-1998 Session

Resolution 1-736/3

Concerning the 1915 Genocide of Armenia’s living in Turkey

Whereas there are numerous studies dedicated to the situation of the Armenian population in Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century;

Whereas the UN convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide–provides a definition of the concept of genocide;

Whereas the judicial verdicts have applied this term to describe the state of Armenia’s living in Turkey in 1915–more specifically the verdict of the ‘tribunal de grande instance’ in Paris on 21 June 1995;

Whereas the resolution by the European Parliament on 18 June 1987 concerning a "political solution to the Armenian Question," recognized that the Armenia’s living in Turkey in 1915 were the victims of a genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman government of the time;

Whereas there cannot be the slightest doubt over the historical evidence regarding the organized and systematic murder of the Armenia’s;

Whereas the recognition of mistakes and crimes of the past is a precondition for reconciliation between peoples and that there cannot be peace without justice–either in Armenia or elsewhere;

Whereas only through the recognition of crimes committed by previous regimes it is possible to distance oneself from their aims and strive politically for reconciliation;

Whereas the differences between the Turkish and Armenian nations continue to drag on and even today lead to the loss of human lives–to the eviction of ethnic groups and to numerous violations of human rights in that region;

Whereas the Turkish and Armenian peoples have no choice but to co-exist peacefully in the long term;

Whereas there exist friendly ties and cooperation between–on the one hand–Turkey–Belgium and the European Union and–on the other hand–Armenia–Belgium and the European Union;

Whereas the 1987 resolution by the European Parliament has not led the Turkish government to recognize the historic reality of the 1915 genocide;

Be it resolved that the Senate requests the Turkish government to recognize the historic reality of the genocide committed in 1915 by the last government of the Ottoman Empire;

Be it further resolved that the Senate requests the parliamen’s of the member states of the European Union to contribute to the reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples;

Be it further resolved that the Senate request the European Union and its member states to lend their support to initiatives in all domains aimed at promoting a dialogue between the Armenian and Turkish peoples;

Be it further resolved that the Senates asks the government of Belgium to transmit this resolution to the prime minister of the Turkish government–to the chairman of the European parliament–to the chairman of the European Commission–to the chairmen of the parliamen’s of the member states of the European Union–as well as to the chairman of the parliament of the Republic of Armenia.

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