STOCKHOLM (Combined Sources)–Sweden’s parliament on Thursday voted down a resolution that would have put the country on record as recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
The vote of 245 to 37 (with 1 abstention) followed debates held in parliament on Wednesday regarding a Foreign Affairs Commission Report on Human Rights. During the discussions, five motions were forwarded calling on the Swedish Government and legislature to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.
During Wednesday’s session, the ruling coalition alliance in parliament, including the opposition Social Democrats proposed rejecting the forwarded motions. The Green and Left Parties presented their own reservations on the issue, forcing Parliament to postpone voting on the resolution during a full chamber on Thursday, according to the Chairman of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden Vahagn Avedian.
Earlier this week, a petition signed by 60 of the worlds leading experts on Holocaust and Genocide Studies was submitted to the Swedish Parliament urging it to vote in favor of the resolution.
The petition, which was published in 10 different languages, was submitted to members of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission Tuesday.
During debates on Wednesday, Green Party Deputy Mats Pertoft, a co-author of the resolution, noted that the 1915 genocide was no different than the global warming, which was doubted and debated for years until an overwhelming majority of scientists finally accepted the truth.
Two deputies from the Social Democrat and Christian Democrat parties broke from party ran’s on Wednesday to defend the resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
"I know that we will convene here again in one year to debate the very same question, said Christian Democrat Lennart Sacrodeus in his remarks to parliament Wednesday. "I think that we can all acknowledge and understand why this issue is locked in Turkey; but the truth will set us free and this applies to Turkey and the legacy after Ataturk."
"The truth will set you free, but Sweden’s politicians today displayed that they are neither ready to acknowledge the truth nor willing to set Turkey free from its dark and burdensome past," Avedian remarked following the vote on Thursday.
The debate over the resolution lasted for over three hours. During those three hours, it was very clear that not a single deputy arguing against the recognition of the Genocide could provide a reasonable explanation for their opposition, according to Avedian.
"It was soon obvious that there simply were no sustainable argumen’s to be given to explain why Sweden can not recognize the 1915 genocide," he said. "The ‘no’ was purely a political decision so that Sweden could maintain good relations with Turkey, nothing else."
"What kind of message do we send to a Turkey in urgent need of reform and democratization when we tell them that it is actually acceptable to cover up crimes and deny facts and the truth?" Avedian said. "What kind of a democracy does Sweden and the EU nourish in Turkey?"
These types of signals, which the Swedish Parliament sent today, surely cause more damage to Turkeys process of becoming a more open society," he remarked.