Belgian Chamber of Deputies Recognizes Armenian Genocide
BRUSSELS—Members of the Chamber of Deputies (Parliament) of Belgium with an overwhelming majority on Thursday voted for the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD).
After a passionate debate a day earlier during the plenary session, where all party representatives in their speeches condemned the Genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey and stressed the need for Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and with Thursday’s resolution, Belgium’s both Parliaments (Senate, in 1998, and the federal government, in June of this year) have now recognized the Armenian Genocide.
Member of Parliament Peter De Roover, who spoke first, showed his solidarity with the Armenian people by wearing the forget-me-not commemorative pin of the centenary of the genocide. He called on the Turkish authorities to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to stop the denial policy. Member of Parliament Stephane Crusnière of the Socialist Party said that his party has always recognized the Armenian Genocide.
Member of Parliament Denis Ducarme (MR) mentioned the fact that from this very podium, on June 18, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel recognized the Armenian Genocide in the name of the Belgian government. Member of Parliament Sarah Claerhout noted that this resolution is a call to Turkey to intensify its efforts to recognize the Armenian Genocide; Member of Parliament Benoit Helling said there is a historic consensus on the issue and a political recognition is needed.
Member of Parliament Georges Dallemagne presented a lengthy historical overview of the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians and other minorities in the Ottoman Empire. He noted that genocides are still going on today, 100 years after Armenians were butchered. Parliamentarian Jan Penris called on the Turkish government to recognize the reality of the Armenian Genocide, while another legislator, Olivier Maingain, said that it is time to be brave and recognize the crime of genocide against Armenians. Maingain also mentioned Jean Jaures, Orhan Pamuk, and Hrant Dink.
Parliament member Marco Van Hees said that Turkish leftist progressive parties recognize the Armenian Genocide and believe this is the way forward. He also mentioned, that by recognizing the Armenian Genocide Belgium will gain credibility. Another parliament member, Dirk Van Der Maelen, stressed the need to be precise and use the proper terminology and include all victims of genocides.
During the debate, it was noted that this resolution would assist in a dialogue between Turks and Armenians, as well as a means to support progressive and democratic forces in Turkey. It was repeatedly said that this resolution is not against the current Turkish people, but against the Turkish state’s denial policy.
“We welcome this resolution in the Chamber today, by which the Belgian state recognizes the Armenian Genocide by its government and both chambers of the parliament,” said Kaspar Karampetian, president of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD). “On the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, we have seen more and more countries recognize the historic fact of the genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey. This is another clear message to Turkey that genocide denial has no place in Europe, and Turkey needs to reconcile with its past sooner or later. This resolution of the Belgian Chamber will also put an end to the denial rhetoric in Belgium,” noted Karampetian. He added that the resolution was also in part the result of well-coordinated efforts of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Belgium, the Committee of Armenians of Belgium, and Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Europe.
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Source: Armenian Weekly
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