Bundestag’s Historic Vote Further Isolates Turkey, Shines Spotlight on Obama’s Complicity in Denial
BERLIN—The German parliament on Thursday approved a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide. The word “genocide” is used in both the text and headline of the resolution, which also states that Germany bears some guilt for its inaction at the time. Following the vote, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany “for consultations.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not present during the vote. Her party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), the Social Democrats (SPD), and the Greens supported the resolution. A spokesperson for Merkel on Wednesday said the while the chancellor supported the measure, she would not attend the legislative hearings.
With German affirmation of the crime, more than 25 countries have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Bundestag vote was nearly unanimous with only one opposed and two abstentions. For over an hour leading up to the historic vote, German parliamentarians spoke in favor of the measure, which affirms the Armenian Genocide and crimes committed against other Christian minorities.
“We welcome the resolution adopted almost unanimously by the #German Parliament today, recognizing the Armenian Genocide and those of other minorities in the #Ottoman Empire, in 1915-1916. It is a historic day, considering the German-Turkish alliance in those years. By recognizing the Armenian Genocide the German Parliament, just as the #Austrian Parliament did last year, could pave the way for #Turkey to come to terms with its past and move forward. Turkey is becoming more and more isolated in its politics of denialism,” said Kaspar Karampetian, president of European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, after the Bundestag vote on Thursday.
“We congratulate the political groups CDU/CSU, SPD and the Greens on the adoption of the resolution, in particular Cem Özdemir – co-leader of the German Green Party, who played a crucial role, amidst all the pressure. It is a strong message, that all of the speakers emphasized the fact of the Genocide, the German complicity in it and the need for Turkey to recognize it,” added Karampetian.
Dozens of German-Armenian community members gathered outside the German parliament in Berlin on Thursday to celebrate the decision by German lawmakers.
“The overwhelming recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the German Parliament is the biggest diplomatic defeat for Erdogan,” said Mario Nalpatian, Vice President of the Socialist International and member of the International Armenian National Committee on the Bundestag decision.
In an interview with Prensa Armenia news agency, Nalpatian stressed the importance of the resolution “because of the implications that this recognition will have in Turkey and outwards, as the German Empire was an ally and supported the Turkish government that planned and executed the genocide”.
“Germany once again points out the only possible way to Turkey: to assume its guilt and apologize as Willy Brandt did in Auschwitz when he was German Chancellor,” he added.
ANCA Says Germany’s Recognition Shines Spotlight on Obama’s Complicity in Erdogan’s Denial
The German Bundestag’s historic vote earlier today officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide shines a global spotlight on U.S. President Barack Obama’s continued complicity in Turkey’s denial of this still unpunished crime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“The Bundestag’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide—made all the more powerful by its honest reckoning with Germany’s own role in this still unpunished crime—further isolates Turkey, while shining a global spotlight on the Obama Administration as the leading international enabler of Ankara’s campaign of genocide denial,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “There is still time for President Obama to follow Germany’s lead, reject Turkey’s gag-rule, and speak honestly about the Armenian Genocide.”
Prior to his election, President Obama was clear and unequivocal in promising to properly characterize Ottoman Turkey’s murder of more than 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children between 1915 and 1923 as genocide. In a Jan. 19, 2008, statement he wrote: “The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy. As a senator, I strongly support passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106), and as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
President Obama has broken that pledge in annual Armenian Remembrance Day statements issued on or near April 24th, the international day of commemoration of this crime.
The U.S. first recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1951 through a filing which was included in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Report titled: “Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” The specific reference to the Armenian Genocide appears on page 25 of the ICJ Report: “The Genocide Convention resulted from the inhuman and barbarous practices which prevailed in certain countries prior to and during World War II, when entire religious, racial and national minority groups were threatened with and subjected to deliberate extermination. The practice of genocide has occurred throughout human history. The Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacres of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”
President Ronald Reagan reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide in 1981. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted legislation on the Armenian Genocide in 1975, 1984 and 1996. This year, West Virginia became the 44th U.S. state to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Under Congressional mandate, the U.S., between 1915 and 1930, embarked on an unprecedented humanitarian campaign providing the equivalent of over $2 billion in today’s dollars to help save Armenian Genocide survivors.
Read the text of the measure (in German).