Dutch daily newspaper
25 April 2005
Take legal action against denialists of Armenian Genocide
International community must perform an act
On Sunday Armenians commemorated the 90th anniversary of the massacres of
thousands of their ancestors by Turks. I. Drost pleads for broad
recognition of the Genocide, only in this way pressure can be put on the
The Netherlands commemorate this year the 60th anniversary of the
Liberation. Also this year the Armenians commemorate the Armenian Genocide
of ninety years ago. On 24 April they commemorate 1.5 million victims – the
major part of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire – who, under ‘cover’ of
the first world war, were swept away from the land where they were living
for thousands of years. A commemoration, but no liberation. The memory is
depressing. The flag remains half-mast.
The perpetrator has not confessed. He denies. The security of Armenians is
thereby not guaranteed. Recurrence lies always in wait.
The international community has been silent for long time, hence the
“forgotten genocide”. But now the countries, one after the other, recognise
the Genocide. The European Parliament already did it in 1987. The Dutch
parliament fortunately did it also, on 21 December 2004. A very small
liberation for many people.
The European Council gave Turkey on 17 December meanwhile, however, the
desired date for accession negotiations, without any engagement on the
Armenian Genocide, the closed borders with Armenia or lack of diplomatic
Turkey continues to deny the facts. Thereby the current Turkey, the legal
successor of the regime of the perpetrators, meanwhile do commit the
“second genocide”, such as the denial of a genocide is called.
Under international pressure there are, however, more publications in Turkey
on this matter. But there is no substantive progress in recognition of the
Genocide. Still recently Prime Minister Erdogan pulled with strange
insolence the wool over the world’s eyes with his call for an “open debate”
with Armenia. A feint, because he added that one would not worry about the
outcome of the debate and one would be proud of Turkey’s history. In short
Erdogan means no debate, because it is certain in advance, that there was no
The international community must perform an act on the occasion of 90th
commemoration, must rise above its own interest, requiring from Turkey to
recognise the Armenian Genocide. Protecting Turkey is also not good for
Turkey itself. Pressure from outside is necessary. Let the US, often
‘hostage’ of strategic interests, now adopt the resolution, which is waiting
for consideration. Let Israel, a fellow-sufferer of Armenia, reconsider her
support to Ankara on this matter. And especially: let Europe, to present now
this point openly to Turkey, before the start of negotiations for Turkey’s
accession to European Union, to prevent itself from becoming accomplice to
the existence and continuation of the denial.
And the Netherlands? Clear up the denial, to start from the Netherlands.
Lets catch up the information delay and give good information to the youth
(also Turkish youth) with lesson material at schools. Lets show the
denialists, if necessary with legal procedures, that we are no longer
accepting such behaviour in the Netherlands. Lots of examples, such as the
statements of the leader of the Contact Body of Moslems and the Government,
who recently claimed that Armenians were deported for their own security.
Lets urge Minister Bot to be still more clear towards his Turkish colleague
on this matter.
Problems in Turkey? Sure, but they will ever appear. It is better now than
at the end of the accession process.
A liberation day will never follow the commemoration of this Genocide. But
recognition by Turkey will have a releasing effect for Armenians and
eventually also for Turkey.
The author is a member of the 24 April Committee of the Federation of
Armenian Organisations in the Netherlands (FAON).