Dutch Parliament recognizes Armenian genocide; Minister to attend commemoration
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, approved two motions regarding the Armenian genocide of 1915 on Thursday. One states that the Tweede Kamer "recognizes the Armenian genocide", the other that a Dutch Minister or State Secretary should attend the commemoration of this genocide in Armenia in April. This decision is expected to further sour the relationship between Turkey and the Netherlands, ANP reports.
Both motions were submitted by ChristenUnie parliamentarian Joel Voordewind. All four coalition parties supported the motions.
Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were murdered in 1915, at the time of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish government insists that this was not a planned genocide, but a war situation. The Turks also say that the Armenians were a danger because they were fighting on the side of the Russian enemy. There are therefore always furious reactions from the Turkish capital of Ankara whenever countries announce recognition of the genocide.
When the Germans recognized the Armenian genocide, there were protests and furious reactions from Turkey, according to RTL Nieuws. Pope Franciscus recently called it the first genocide of the 20th century, immediately resulting in a diplomatic fallout between Turkey and the Vatican.
So far the Netherlands never officially recognized the genocide, always speaking of the "issue of the Armenian genocide". But a majority in parliament believes it is time for that to change. "We can not deny history out of fear of sanctions. Our country houses the capital of international law after all, so we must not be afraid to do the right thing here too", Voordewind said to Trouw on Friday.
The relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey is already tense, since the Netherlands refused Turkish ministers access to the country to campaign for a referendum that gave president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power. Recently talks to repair this relationship broke down, and the Netherlands officially recalled the Dutch ambassador to the country.