Questions & Answers: Recognition

70 Why is a 100 year old question still a current issue today?
71 Which countries, organizations etc. have recognized the 1915 genocide?
72 Why is there an wider international recognition?
73 Is not it better to leave historic events to historians instead of letting politicians make decisions about it?
74 Does a recognition imply restriction of free speech and independent research?
75 Why make such a big deal out of an old genocide?
76 What can the disregard of the demands for a recognition result in?
77 If we recognize a 100 year old genocide, must we not admit any crime since time immemorial?
78 What can a recognition result in really?
79 What does it matter whether Turkey argues that there was a genocide or not? It is an academic issue, not a political one.
80 Can today's Turkey be blamed for what the Ottoman Empire did?
81 What kind of reparations can a recognition result in?
82 Would a recognition cause discord among the communities concerned?
83 Can reconciliation be achieved without recognition?
84 Why not take the matter to court?
85 Is this not an issue between Armenia and Turkey?
86 Why should a third country need to recognize the genocide of 1915?
87 Has the Swedish Parliament recognized the Armenian genocide in 1915?
88 Has Sweden as a state recognized the genocide in 1915?
89 Has the Swedish Parliament recognized that the events affacting Assyrians/Syrians/Chaldeans and Pontic Greeks were also a genocide?
90 Has Armenia any strategy for lifting the question of genocide onto the international arena?
91 Is it only the Armenian Diaspora who drives the question?
92 Is Turkey prepared to discuss the Genocide issue with Armenia?
93 Why is there an axiety in Turkey in regard to the recognition of the 1915 genocide?
94 Is the hope for a recognition by Turkey greater now than it was 20 years ago?
95 Why has is been so silent about the genocide during such a long time?
96 How come the Armenian genocide is not noticed as much as the Holocaust?
97 Should not every country think of their own interests if a recognition results in severed relations with Turkey?
98 Is it forbidden to talk about the Armenian genocide in Turkey?
99 What is the penalty if you talk about the genocide in Turkey?
100 What were the so-called "Football diplomacy" and the "2009 Protocols" about?


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70 Why is a 100 year old question still current issue today?

First and foremost, it is obviously the lack of official recognition that would have begun the required reconciliation efforts which has failed to materialize. In addition, when it comes to genocide, or as in the more general sense of the offense, crimes against humanity, there is no statute of limitation in international law, which means that in case of a recognition Turkey would most likely be liable (see question 80). It is precisely this concern for the consequences of a recognition which lie behind Turkey's persistent denial, even though it has been so long since the genocide. The irony of the 1915 genocide is the fact that the question, contrary to impression which the denialist side wants to give, seems rather to have increased in magnitude the longer we have come from events rather being forgotten. With the extended research and the accumulation of new evidence as well as the increased availability of information, among others via the internet, has resulted in a more open debate in Turkey but also the increased attention on the issue internationally during the past three decades.


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71 Which countries, organization etc. have recognized the 1915 Genocide?

The following countries and organizations have officially recognized the 1915 Genocide:
1. Uruguay, 1965
2. Cyprus, 1982
3. United Nations Human Rights Committee, 1985
4. European Parliament, 1987
5. Russia, 1995
6. Greece, 1996
7. International Association of Genocide Scholars, 1997
8. Lebanon, 1997
9. Belgium, 1998
10. France, 1998
11. Italy, 2000
12. Vatican City, 2000
13. International Center for Transitional Justice, 2002
14. Switzerland, 2003
15. Argentina, 2003
16. Canada, 2004
17. Slovakia, 2004
18. Netherlands, 2004
19. Poland, 2005
20. Venezuela, 2005
21. Germany, 2005
22. Lithuania, 2005
23. Chile, 2007
24. The Swedish Parliament, 2010
25. Bolivia, 2014


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72 Why is there an wider international recognition?

Unfortunately, history has proven that facts and political decisions do not need to correlate with each other. That is precisely why the genocide in Rwanda (1994) was allowed to take place without the outside world reacting sufficiently resolute and in time (see question 4). It is the same reason that the world, in 2008, were not talking about a committed or historical genocide, but an ongoing genocide, namely that in Darfur, Sudan (see also question75) or a more recent one committed by the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. Realpolitik has obviously had and has higher priority compared with human rights. As long as Turkey succeeds threatening other countries with sanctions and countermeasures those countries that have interests in Turkey or in cooperation with her, consider simply ignoring the facts at hand and refuse to acknowledge the truth about the genocide of 1915. But the list in the previous question shows that the world is slowly but surely changing position on this issue and more and more recognize the genocide (see also question 90).


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73 Is not it better to leave historic events to historians instead of letting politicians make decisions about it?

Absolutely! That is exactly what one would like to persuade politicians to do. Politicians should not play historians and therefore they should make decisions based on research. Just as politicians without wider and deeper knowledge in biology, chemistry and environmental science, take decisions on environmental and climate issues, so they should take a decision on the recognition of historical facts, based on what scholars from different fields have been able to determine. Additionally, the actual recognition of genocide (not to be confused with the research for the determination of the same) is not an academic issue but a legal. It is legal because it is subject to international as well as national laws, which are needed in order to prevent repetitions of this crime and to punish the guilty. More importantly, and specifically in regard to the Armenian case, such a recognition is rather aimed at the State denial than anything else.


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74 Does a recognition imply restriction of free speech and independent research?

There are countries, e.g. France and Switzerland, where the law prohibits the denial of genocide or other crimes against humanity, while other countries such as USA or Sweden do not have such laws. The Swedish recognition of the 1915 genocide therefore does not punish those who still want to deny the genocide as historical reality, just as certain extremist groups are free to deny the Holocaust. The research shall be free from restrictions and continue. Therefore, a Swedish recognition of the historical fact of course neither restrict the freedom of speech, or independent research.


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75 Why make such a big deal out of an old genocide?

There are numerous sayings and proverbs on the subject, including "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" and "he who does not know the past do not know where he is heading for tomorrow." To forget one's own past mistakes is an excellent way to repeat them. Salih Booker, former executive director of Africa Action, said the following about the genocide in Darfur: "Why does genocide occur in the 21st century? Because those who committed these during the 20th century got away. Hitler said, 'Who remembers the Armenians?'" (Excerpt from the documentary Screamers, 2007). For Hitler's quote see question 44.
"The Living History Forum is a Swedish public authority which, using the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as a starting point, works with issues on tolerance, democracy and human rights. This major challenge is our specific mission. The past and the present are continuously present in everything we do. With these perspectives, our goal is to teach about historic patterns. Our wish is to equip people with knowledge for the future; our goal is to work for everyone's equal value." So reads the description of an agency working by the Swedish government's mandate educating the public about, among others, the genocide in 1915. The lesson of history is one of the cornerstones of modern democracies where we learn from our past mistakes. By preventing repetition of past errors the aim is to build a better future. But a prevention of future mistakes, especially if these are known from history, cannot be applied if one does not openly admit the committed wrongs, even less if you consciously and deliberately choose to ignore them. Historical revisionism is a dangerous tool for facilitating repetition of history's dark side. The continued denial of the 1915 genocide actually makes it to a successful genocide, where the culprits got away with not only the extermination of the unwanted elements in Turkey, but also escaped responsibility and liability for the committed crimes. Therefore, it is actually important to recognize the 1915 genocide, although it has passed almost 100 years.


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76 What can the disregard for the demands for the recognition result in?

The most obvious pitfall is the risk for repeating the mistakes if these are not recognized and serve as examples for future endeavors. The lack of a proper recognition and condemnation will undoubtedly result in frustration among victim groups who consider themselves infringed and unfairly treated. In the Armenian case the disinterest of the international community and their inability to punish those responsible for the genocide resulted in the formation of secret organizations to administer justice on their own. "Operation Nemesis" (after the Greek revenge Goddess) was one such campaign which ran between 1920 and 1922 where survivors of the genocide tracked down the responsible Turkish leaders who had fled the country and were in hiding abroad and assassinated them (see question 21). Much later, in the 1970s, similar terrorist organizations were created who assassinated about fifty Turkish diplomats and other official representatives around the world in an attempt to arise international attention to the forgotten genocide (see also question 23).


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77 If we recognize a 100 year old genocide, must we not admit any crime since time immemorial?

It's actually not true. Present-day modern international law and in particular the extension of martial law in order to also protect the civilian population has its origin in the Hague Convention, which was established in 1899 and revised in 1907. It was the so-called Martens clause of the 1907 Hague Convention IV, which stated that "the inhabitants and the belligerents remain under the protection and the rule of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience."41 It was with this law in mind that the Allied States declared the ultimatum on May 24, 1915:

In view of this new crime of Turkey against humanity and civilisation, the Allied Governments make known publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold all the members of the Turkish government as well as those officials who have participated in these massacres, personally responsible. (see question 16).

This means that the recognition of the crimes committed in 1915 does not lead automatically to the consequence that all crimes from time immemorial need to be reviewed in order to apply the laws which did not that all be able to go as far back as the time and requiring the application of laws that did not exist before in 1907.


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78 What can a recognition result in really?

First and foremost, a recognition would be a moral redress and the first step towards the administration of justice. It confirms the tremendous injustice suffered by the victims of the genocide and opens up for a reconciliation, which is the foundation for being able to move forward. A second step would be to compensate the victims' descendants for the lost property, capital, houses and land, just as Germany did and continues to do vis-a-vis Israel and the Jews. This is done despite the fact that today's Germany is not guilty of the Holocaust. A reparation, with respect to capital, property and land belonging to over 1.5 million people (bearing in mind the increased value over the past century) may therefore account to billions of dollars. This alone is sufficient reason for Turkey's reluctance to even acknowledge the existence of the issue. One must also remember that the genocide affected entire ethnic groups. The Armenians in the Diaspora are today more than the Armenians in the Republic of Armenia. The same applies to the Assyrians/Syrians/Chaldeans and Greeks, who were forced out of areas they had called their home for over three thousand years. As for Armenia, this is not only an issue about the Diaspora and the genocide itself, but has present-day consequences in the shape of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which can be traced to the genocide and Turkey's policy during that period.


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79 What does it matter that Turkey argues that there was a genocide? It is a historical scientific issue, not a political one.

Not really. We live in a globalized world where one cannot say that one or a few countries have the right to own missteps. Now that Turkey aspires for EU membership, her government may not deny its historical misdeeds. To deny a genocide can have devastating effects, e.g. in failing to respect the rights of its own minorities when that very same state refuses to acknowledge that any such abuses have ever taken place on its soil. This would open the door for future iterations. Neither would it be acceptable to introduce such flawed and revisionist streams into the European Union, which a Turkish EU membership would entail. For the question of history and politics see question 70.


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80 Can today's Turkey be blamed for what the Ottoman Empire did?

Today's Turkey was certainly not the same state which carried out the genocide towards the Armenians in 1915, but the successor Republic in 1923 was founded almost exclusively by the same individuals who carried out the genocide. For the legal aspect of the issue see question 68. Furthermore, although modern Turkey was not involved in the WWI genocide, it is certainly today's Turkey which actively denies the genocide and tries to exonerate those who were guilty of the genocide. And finally it is actually today's Turkey which inherited all the property, capital and the land belonging to the genocide victims and it is today Turkey which will be liable towards the survivors of the genocide victims. An obvious parallel is today's Germany which was hardly guilty of the Nazi crimes. Despite this fact, it is the present-day Germany that, albeit only for moral reasons, has asked the Jews for forgiveness and compensates the survivors and their heirs. The responsible persons are of course no longer alive to be tried, but the state of Turkey may well be demanded on claims upon recognition or conviction in an international court. Such a process relies on the assumption that modern Turkey can be held responsible for its predecessors' crimes. The fact is that there are mechanisms within the international legal system to prevent states and governments from committing crimes and then escape responsibility by self-constructed government shifts, e.g. by a revolution or a constitutional change (e.g. from empire to republic). The internationally wrongful act of a State regards conducts consisting of an action or an omission which 1) is attributable to that State under international law; and 2) constitutes a breach of an international obligation of that State. Furthermore, the article states that, in addition to being obliged to perform the obligation breached (Article 29), the successor State is also "obliged to cease the wrongful conduct or, in some circumstances, to offer appropriate assurances and guarantee of non-repetition (Article 30)."43 This suggests that in reality, there is a distinction between crimes committed by the predecessor and continuation of the same crime after the date of succession. Thus, the doctrine argues that: "If the new State continues the original internationally wrongful act committed by the predecessor State, that new State should be held accountable not only for its own act committed after the date of succession but also for the damage which was caused by the predecessor State before the date of succession."44 This means that since today's Turkey, that did not stop the massacres, the deportations and the confiscation of the target group's property, but also continued the same actions far in 1930s, the present-day Republic could be held responsible for not only for the crimes committed after 1923, but also for the same crimes committed during the period between 1915 up to the founding of the Republic.45


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81 What kind of reparations can a recognition result in?

Already at the 1919 Peace Conference in Paris the Armenian delegation presented claims for "$3.7 billion, of which $2.18 billion were for different types of property. The majority of claims were for Turkish Armenia." This sum corresponds approximately to $54 billion in 2015 years value.46 This amount is, as stated earlier, only for the Armenian losses and it should add the demands from the other affected minorities. In addition, Turkey fears that reparation claims will not stop at financial demands, but that Armenia will also make territorial claims in accordance with the proposals contained in the Sevres Treaty. It is the sum of these requirements which can be said to be behind Turkey's persistent denial of the genocide.


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82 Would a recognition cause discord among the communities concerned?

One of the arguments used against an official recognition was that such recognition would stigmatize the country's Turkish minority by portraying them as "murderers" and cause discord between Turks and Armenians and the other victim groups. However, in none of the countries which have officially recognized the genocide have any such cases of discord been ever reported.


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83 Can reconciliation be achieved without recognition?

With hindsight, one can certainly assert that no reconciliation without due recognition is impossible. This is precisely why an age-old question is so relevant today. It should be noted that the recognition and acceptance of the bitter reality is not only a prerequisite for reconciliation between perpetrators and victims, but also for the perpetrators themselves. The closest parallel might be the post-WWII West Germany, where the main objective of reconciliation after the war was not really about a "new attitude in German-Jewish relations, but a normalizing reconciliation of West Germany with its own past."47 The Luxemburg Agreement on restitution and reparations was a significant step in this process.48 Konrad Adenauer, the first Chancellor of the Federal German Republic, "not only wanted to recognize responsibility for the past crimes of Germans, he wanted to repay a personal debt of honor."49 By this act the West German government wanted to restore its international reputation.50 This can hardly be said about Turkey, which in addition to ignoring the recognition and compensation of the victims has actually continued to accuse the Armenians and other Christian minorities for the exact same accusations about treason and mendacity that was used as excuse for the genocide during the First World War.


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84 Why not take the matter to court?

Although one might think that the evidence base is more than satisfactory on the reality of the genocide, one should not ignore the Realpolitik of power in the equation. Just as Krystyna Marek, professor of international law, points out, it is rather often the prevailing political considerations and balances of power than general international laws that dictate the outcome of a similar verdict.51 Such an obvious case was the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which in December 2013 ruled that the Turkish national Dogu Perincek had the right to deny the Armenian genocide. Perincek had previously been fined by a Swiss court for genocide denial under the country's laws. ECHR verdict was met with massive criticism from several leading researchers and institutions which criticized the ECHR for serious gaps in knowledge regarding the state of research and their conclusions.52 The most disturbing aspect of the verdict was the Court's reasoning behind the decision in which, instead of relying on the facts and research findings, they had referred to the fact that "only about twenty of world's 190 countries have recognized the genocide".53 The irony of this statement was that several of the countries which have recognized the genocide had asked for a court verdict that would be indicative. This episode proved that the ECHR judgment had its legal decision rather based on the impact of Turkey's denial campaign where the threat of economic and political sanctions prevent other states to recognize a historical fact. Thus, it would be useless, if not dangerous, for Armenia and Armenians to take the matter to court, while the political climate is so influenced by Turkey's denial policy.


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85 Is this not an issue between Armenia and Turkey?

This assertion is wrong for two basic reasons: 1) The question of human rights violations and genocide is not a particular nation's exclusive right, but, as the name implies, concerns the whole of humanity. It would be extremely dangerous and irresponsible to escape the obligation to act and condemn similar crimes by saying that "it is not our problem". 2) Unfortunately, the Realpolitik and the balance of power makes it impossible that one should expect that Armenia and Turkey to resolve the issue among themselves. In a perfect world where international laws are pursued to the letter one could perhaps rely on Turkey, just as the post-war Germany, to condemn their predecessor's crime and assume the responsibility to set things right. However, unlike Germany, where the country's leaders showed benevolence and chose to restore the country's international reputation through moral obligation to the victims of the Nazis, Turkey has done just the opposite. The new Republic has not only failed to stop the Ottoman government's crimes and convict the guilty, but it continued the same criminal acts and has since denied that any wrong doing has been committed. With this in mind, it would be not only naive, but entirely wrong to let the question to Turkey and Armenia, where the latter is hardly compatible, economically or politically, with Turkey. Therefore, a concerted international pressure on Turkey is required in order to make her abandon its denial policy.


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86 Why should a third country; Sweden need to recognize the genocide of 1915?

Sweden should primarily confirm the history of scientific research that has been developed by politically independent researchers. That one hesitates to admit these, including warranted that it would harm the reform process in Turkey and give chapped to extreme forces. The question which should be asked is how such indirect support of lies and denial of the truth can promote the reform process in Turkey? What kind of democracy is it really Sweden and the EU wants to promote in Turkey? If Sweden is now pretending to be concerned about the development of Turkey and Turkey to become a better democracy and an open society and reach up to the standards required of an EU country, so we should not shy away from the truth. Turkey cannot become a better society if we continue to deny a genocide, while Sweden contributes to this denial by his own refusal to openly acknowledge the genocide in 1915. Sweden therefore makes Turkey a disservice. Moreover send Sweden dangerous signals to both Turkey and the world. A Swedish genocide denial fact that one can ignore certain crimes (which in this case happens to be genocide) if the perpetrator manages to avoid justice for a long time. This is neither compatible with Sweden's values or its international reputation in terms of right human rights.


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87 Has the Swedish Parliament recognized the Armenian genocide in 1915?

Yes. March 11, 2010, the Swedish Riksdag, with the numbers 131 against 130, voted for the recognition of the 1915 genocide committed against Armenians, Assyrians/Syrians/Chaldeans and Pontic Greeks. The Foreign Affairs Committee recommendation 2009/10:UU9, in accordance with official government policy, urged the rejection of the recognition, but members of parliament went against the government's proposals. At the vote in the parliament the opposition parties (Social Democrats, Left Party and the Greens) together with three government members (two Liberals, a Christian Democrat) and a political independent MP voted for recognition.

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88 Has Sweden as a state recognized the genocide in 1915?

As long as the Swedish government does not follow the decision of the Parliament and does not include the recognition in its official foreign policy, one cannot claim that Sweden as a country has recognized the genocide. Although parliament has voted for recognition, in accordance to the Swedish constitution, it is the Swedish government that has the ultimate responsibility for national foreign and security issues. As Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt chose not to follow the decision of the Parliament and not reflect the recognition in Sweden's foreign policy, one cannot claim that Sweden has officially recognized the genocide. However, the parliamentary decision remains in force until a future government chooses to include the recognition into its foreign policy and then one can assert that Sweden as a country has officially recognized the genocide..

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89 Has the Swedish Parliament recognized that the events affecting Assyrians/Syrians/Chaldeans and Pontic Greeks were also a genocide?

Yes, it has. Motion 2008/09:U332, which cited the academic resolution (see question 31), calls for recognition of the genocide against Armenians, Assyrians/Syrians/Chaldeans and Pontic Greeks (see question 87).


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90 Has Armenia any strategy for lifting the question of genocide onto the international arena?

Armenia, via its ambassador to the UN and government representatives, has raised the question of the Armenian genocide. Even within the EU and the European Parliament activities are being conducted for an international recognition. However, it should be noted that, while the denial of the genocide carried out actively by the Turkish state, the Armenian state is not the biggest player in terms of international recognition and research. The research is conducted primarily by academic institutes at universities around the world.


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91 Is it only the Armenian Diaspora that drives the question?

This strategy of "divide and rule" belongs to the Turkish government's recent approach. Although the diaspora, which largely consists of genocide survivors and their children and grandchildren, actually forms a basis of the drive for recognition in the countries where they live, the genocide is a topical issue in Armenia as well. Genocide Museum (The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute of the National Academy of Sciences), located next to the Genocide monument in the capital Yerevan, holds one of the largest collections of photos and documentation materials from the 1915 Genocide. The eleventh item in Armenia's Declaration of Independence 1991 reads as follows: "The Republic of Armenia supports the strive to achieve international recognition of the 1915 genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia".


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92 Is Turkey prepared to discuss the Genocide issue with Armenia?

Apparently not. Turkey has since mid-1990s, closed its border with Armenia and exercises embargo against the country. Armenia has always stated its willingness to normalize relations with Turkey, without posing any preconditions. Turkey, on the other hand, has always put two conditions before they would consider normalizing their relations with Armenia. First, Armenia must cease its efforts to gain international recognition for the Armenian genocide. Second, Armenia must explicitly recognize the present-day border between the two countries. One should mention that the current border between Armenia and Turkey exists as agreed in the treaty between the then Soviet government in Moscow and, at the time unrecognized Kemalist Government in Ankara. Armenia has constantly stressed its desire to normalize the relations between the countries and then try to resolve the existing issues diplomatically. But so far, Turkey has firmly refused to open the border, lifting the embargo and normalize the relations with Armenia unless the two mentioned conditions are first met (See also question 100).


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93 Why is there an anxiety in Turkey in regard to the recognition of the 1915 genocide?

Turkey should not be afraid of acknowledging the truth, namely, if one really cares about the development of the country and building a better society. However, some aspects naturally makes people to hesitate due to the less pleasant consequences of such recognition in the short term (see question 97).


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94 Is the hope for a recognition by Turkey greater now than it was 20 years ago?

Yes, one could say that. Today, the results of the research have also reached an earlier isolated Turkey. Many have begun to question the state version which four or five generations of Turks have been taught and which has now been observed not agree with how the rest of the world views it. In recent years organizations have even been able to hold memorial ceremonies, albeit relatively limited in scope, on the commemoration day, April 24. In addition, the international community has learned more about the events and new research, mainly during the last three decades, has repeatedly confirmed the genocide's historical reality.


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95 Why has is been so silent about the genocide during such a long time?

It would be incorrect to assert that it has been a total silence regarding the genocide until now. The affected groups have never ceased to talk about the events. However, it is correct to say that the past three decades has witnessed a much more attention towards the 1915 genocide in a much clearer and even more loudly than before. The reasons are found almost exclusively in the political world:
1. Until 1991, when Armenia regained its independence from the Soviet Union, the Armenian issue had no international spokesperson and therefore could not be actively pursued in areas such as The European Parliament or the United Nations. It was not until 1998 when Armenia's then president, Robert Kotcharian, for the first time in history, raised the question of the Armenian genocide from the UN rostrum. Looking at the list of countries that recognized the genocide one can clearly see the relationship between Armenia's regained independence (1991) and the advent of an international official spokesperson for the issue and international recognition (see question 71).
2. Turkey has long been protected in the question of the Western Powers (since the Turkish Republic's creation in 1923) and later by NATO countries which thus defended one of their allies against accusations from the Soviet Republic of Armenia. Turkey has thus abused its geopolitical position, as a first line of defense against the Soviet Union, and threatened to freeze the main US military bases on the genocide would be recognized. The same threat was made during the Iraq war and the ongoing US operations in the Middle East in the wake of that war.
With the Cold War, Turkey's position as defense outpost against the Soviet lost much of its importance, but in the last years, Turkey has instead come to the fore as one of the important bases for the "war on terror". Once terrorism has been defeated, it remains to be seen which trump card Turkey will have left to play in its campaign of denial.


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96 How is it that the Armenian genocide is not noticed as much as the Holocaust?

Armenian Genocide has long been called "the forgotten genocide". This epithet can primarily be attributed to the Turkish state's denial policy that has successfully managed to stifle the issue for decades after the First World War. This denial is in itself quite unique to the Armenian case where a modern state is actively and steadfastly opposing any kind of recognition and wider dissemination of information about the genocide. This kind of denial can hardly be said to exist about the Holocaust which, in spite of the existence of Holocaust deniers, is openly recognized, condemned and researched. The research on the Armenian genocide began in earnest in the 1980s and has since come to be, next to the Holocaust, the most researched case of genocide. But despite this, the Turkish state's campaign of denial, with the usual threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions against those that want to recognize the genocide, is a concrete barrier towards wider dissemination and discussion of the issue.


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97 Should not every country think of their own interests if a recognition results in severed relations with Turkey?< /strong>

A weapon in Turkey's struggle against the recognition of the Armenian genocide has been threats for frozen diplomatic and trade relations. This method has been widely implemented, e.g. against France in 2001 once they officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The truth, however, is that this is a last seemingly desperate attempt when all other measures have failed and countries who want to confirm historical facts should not worry about that threat. In addition, it has been shown that Turkey cannot afford to maintain these sanctions, either diplomatic or trade. Statistics (see table below) show that this type of sanctions are highly temporary and ineffective and the relations soon return to the normal:

CountryDate for the recognition of Genocide 1915Change in trade with Turkey since recognition
RussiaApril 14 1995+351%
GreeceApril 25, 1996+266%
BelgiumMarch 26, 1998+167%
LebanonMay 11, 2000+126%
ItalyNovember 17, 2000109%
FranceJanuary 29, 2001+ 135%
SwitzerlandDecember 16, 2003+ 23%
UruguayMarch 26, 2004+ 85%
CanadaApril 21, 2004+ 22%
SlovakiaNovember 30, 200446%
NetherlandsDecember 21, 200424%
Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - Trade in goods (2008 years figures)


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98 Is it forbidden to talk about the Armenian genocide in Turkey?

Turkish authorities have since the genocide implemented a policy of denial, presenting history revisionism that has not only prevented the international recognition of the events but also misled its own people. The result is that between four and five generations of Turks have grown up with a picture of the genocide perpetrators as patriotic heroes who defeated the evil-minded Armenians who sought to destroy the "Turkish fatherland". If one also recalls the significance of honor towards family members and predecessor which plays an essential role in an Oriental country like Turkey (same could be said for Iran, Syria, Lebanon, even Greece and Armenia) then it's not surprising that the accusations against the national heroes and their immediate ancestors are taboo in Turkey. It is precisely for this reason that opinions about the genocide are seen as "desecration of the nation" and they usually use the infamous Section 301 of the Turkish Penal Code to silence the issue. However, the academic community's better picture of the events and access to literature and the Internet has resulted in Turkish society's increased questioning of the state version that is contrary to the internationally accepted version. Turkish society's increased knowledge and questioning of the state's denial means that the issue is no longer taboo and people dare and can discuss the matter quite openly, albeit with certain restrictions and the risk of being subjected to harassment and pressure from both the state and conservative groups.


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99 What is the penalty if you talk about the genocide in Turkey?

Under Section 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, a person convicted of having insulted the Turkish state, e.g. by asserting that the 1915 genocide has taken place, can be sentenced to up to two years in prison.


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100 What was the so-called "Football Diplomacy" and the "2009 Protocols" about?

In 2009, the Armenian and Turkish national football teams met during the World Cup qualifiers. At the same time the two countries attempted to normalize their relations under the mediation of Switzerland. In a historic visit to Armenia attending the first of the two matches, the Turkish President Abdullah Gul invited his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan invitation to the travelled to the Armenian capital Yerevan to watch the match between Armenia and Turkey. Later the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan travelled to Turkey to attend the return game. This eventually led to the signing of the famous Protocols that were meant as an important step towards normalization of the relations between the two countries. The protocols caused major protests among so well the Armenian diaspora as among the international academic community, who argued that Armenia had agreed to history revisionism. This was accusation based on a clause in the protocols which stated that the two countries would set up a commission that would among others "implement a dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations". This was interpreted by many as a direct reference to the issue of genocide.

It was not long before the protocols were put on hold when Turkey, under pressure from Azerbaijan, declared that it requires an Armenian withdrawal from the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh as a precondition for normalization of relations with Armenia. Meanwhile, Armenia's Constitutional Court, in early 2010, ruled that the protocols do not conflict with Armenia's constitution or its declaration of independence and in particular to paragraph 11, which states that "Armenia supports the quest to achieve international recognition of the 1915 genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia". Ankara interpreted this as a violation of the protocol item about the creation of the Historical Commission to investigate the matter. In February 2015, the Armenian president Sargsyan decided to withdraw the protocols from of Armenian Parliament's agenda, arguing that Turkey lacked the political will to recognize the truth about the genocide.


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Notes
41 Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907, Yale Law School; avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hague04.asp 42 Patrick Dumberry,State Succession to International Responsibility(Leiden: Nijhoff, an imprint of Brill, 2007), pp. 22-23.
43 Ibid., pp. 24-25. See also James Crawford, The International Law Commission's Articles on State Responsibility: Introduction, Text and Commentaries(Leiden: Nijhoff, 2002), p. 196. See also Krystyna Marek, Identity and Continuity of States in Public International Law(Geneva: Libr. Droz, 1968), p. 33.
44 This position has been uttered by the ILC's special reports James Crawford. See Dumberry, pp. 218-219.
45 For a detailed discussion see Vahagn Avedian, State Identity, Continuity, and Responsibility: The Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey and the Armenian Genocide, in European Journal of International Law, vol. 23, No. 3 (Oxford University Press, 2012); 2012; ejil.org/pdfs/23/3/2306.pdf 46 Levon Marashlian, Finishing the Genocide: Cleansing Turkey of Armenian Survivors, 1920-1923, in Richard G. Hovannisian (ed.), Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide, Detroit, 1999, p. 117.
47 Frank Stern, The Historic Triangle: Occupiers, Germans and Jews in Postwar Germany, in Robert G. Moeller (ed.), West Germany during Construction: Politics, Society , and Culture in the Adenauer Era, Michigan, 1997, p. 206
48 Stern, p. 228. See also Mary FullBrook, A Concise History of Germany, New York, 1990, p. 154.
49 Dennis L. Bark and David R. Gress, A History of West Germany: From Shadow to Substance 1945-1963, vol. 1, Oxford, 1989, p. 314.
50 Ibid, p. 311.
51 Krystyna Marek, Identity and Continuity of States in Public International Law (Geneva: Libr. Droz, 1968), p. 190.
52 See, among others, Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Switzerland was not a bystander of the Armenian Genocide then, and Should not be a bystander to ITS Denial now, February 16, 2014;zoryaninstitute.org/Announcements/ECHR_Statement_English_Edition.pdf 53 European Court of Human Rights, Criminal conviction for denial That the atrocities perpetrated against the Armenian people in 1915 and Years After constituted genocide was unjustified, Press Release issued by the Registrar of the Court, the ECHR 370 (2013), 17 December 2013.


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