THE HAGUE—The Dutch parliament on Thursday passed a resolution, with the support of all parties, to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This legislation is a more definitive recognition of the crime, which was recognized in 2004 through another resolution.
Last week, two motions were introduced in the Tweede Kamer—the Dutch legislature—by the Christian Union Party calling on a definitive recognition of the Armenian Genocide and mandating the visit by the country’s foreign minister to Yerevan in April when commemoration of the Armenian Genocide is held at Dzidzernagapert.
Earlier Thursday, during a presentation to parliament, Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag said that a member of the cabinet will represent the Netherlands in April in Armenia for the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. She was quick to point out, however, that the visit should not be construed as the cabinet’s affirmation that the events of 1915 constitute genocide.
Kaag said the visit would be about showing respect in a dignified manner “for the terrible events of 1915.”
Kaag said that she continues to talk about “the issue of the Armenian genocide.” She stressed that there is no binding resolution by the United Nations Security Council in which the Armenian genocide is mentioned, nor is it a decision by an international court.
According to her, the cabinet wants to be cautious about applying the concept of genocide to the past. “It remains very clear to the government that a large-scale massacre has taken place.”
“We highly appreciate the debates held today in the Parliament of friendly Netherlands and the decisions adopted as the result, which unequivocally reaffirm the recognition of the Armenian Genocide back in 2004,” Armenia’s foreign ministry said in the statement.
“With this step, the Parliament of the Netherlands once again reconfirmed its commitment to universal human values and the noble cause of prevention of genocides and crimes against humanity.”
The motions introduced last Friday were both authored by Christian Union deputy Joel Voordewind. The introduction of the motions led Ankara to recall its ambassador to the Hague.
The Dutch parliament recognized the Genocide in 2004 approving another measure brought forth by the Christian Union Party, which in 2011 also introduced legislation that would criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide
“We cannot 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, a Dutch publication last 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 Turkish 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.