Genocide Recognition: Diaspora groups hail Germany’s Armenian vote

Photo: bundestag.de

Armenian advocacy groups based in the United States and worldwide have issued statements welcoming the passage by the German Parliament, the Bundestag, of a resolution formally labeling the Ottoman-era killings and deportations of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said the historic vote in Germany “shines a global spotlight on U.S. President Barack Obama’s continued complicity in Turkey’s denial of this still unpunished crime.”

“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 over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children between 1915 and 1923 as genocide. Armenian American advocacy groups believe he has failed to do so in his eight annual Armenian Remembrance Day statements issued on or near April 24th, the international day of commemoration of this crime, while he has been in the White House.

Another influential Armenian American advocacy group, the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA), also welcomed the June 2 near unanimous vote in the Bundestag.

“The vote by the German parliament follows other European countries in acknowledging this painful chapter in history as well as the resolutions adopted by the European Parliament conditioning Turkey’s EU admission to coming to terms with its genocidal past,” stated AAA Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “The Assembly applauds the Bundestag’s principled stand, especially as Turkey continues to blockade Armenia – the last closed border in Europe – refuses to normalize relations with Armenia and unconditionally supported Azerbaijan’s recent attempt to once again wipe Armenians off the map in Nagorno Karabakh.”

The European chapter of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), which is the world’s largest Armenian non-profit organization, meanwhile, congratulated the Bundestag for its historic vote commemorating the Armenian Genocide.

“The vote in the German Parliament is uniquely significant,” said Nadia Gortzounian, President of AGBU Europe. “Germany has questioned its own history as few other countries have done. Its society and establishment understand the lasting impact of past crimes if they are not exposed and remembered.” In addition to commemorating the Armenian genocide, the Bundestag’s resolution also condemns Germany’s own involvement in the event, as Turkey’s main ally during World War I.

“We must direct our gratitude in particular to one member of Parliament, Cem Özdemir,” said Sahak Artazyan, President of AGBU’s affiliate in Germany. “Cem fulfilled the promise he made to us last April 24. That a member of Turkish origin should be the one to drive this resolution through Parliament is of enormous significance for all of us in Europe.”