STOCKHOLM—The Parliament of Sweden on Thursday, recognized the Armenian Genocide after a long debate with a vote of 131 to 130. This prompted Turkey to recall is ambassador to Sweden, reported Armenian National Committee of Sweden chairwoman Suzanne Khardalian.
“I have been instructed to go back to Turkey,” said Zergun Koruturk, Turkey’s ambassador to Sweden. “It is logical. I am very, very disappointed,” reported the Stockholm News.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also cancelled his planned visit to Sweden.
“We strongly condemn this resolution, which is made for political calculations. It does not correspond to the close friendship of our two nations. We are recalling our ambassador for consultations,” Erdogan said in a statement on his website.
The decision comes just one week after the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to adopt the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252), by a vote of 23-22 – despite last minute opposition from the Obama Administration and over intense lobbying by the Turkish Government. A similar measure has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, S.Res.316.
“Twice in just one week, we have seen legislative bodies – the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the United States and the full Parliament in Sweden – take a strong stand against Turkey’s threats against an honest affirmation of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We congratulate the Swedish Parliamentarians – particularly those who defied party politics and foreign intimidation – to send a clear message that genocide must be condemned whenever and wherever it occurs.”
The resolution mandates Sweden to officially describe the large-scale murders of Armenians and other ethnic groups in Turkey in the early years of the last century as genocide.
The motion was supported by members of five of the seven Swedish parliamentary parties including the Left Party, whose foreign policy spokesperson Hans Linde told The Local newspaper on Thursday that the time had come for Sweden to take a stand on the issue.
The governing center-right coalition opposed the measure, but it passed because a handful of center-right lawmakers sided with the left-leaning opposition, which had proposed the resolution.
“First, to learn from history and stop it from repeating and second, to encourage the development of democracy in Turkey, which includes dealing with its own history. The third reason is to redress the wrongs committed against the victims and their relatives,” added Linde.
The committee in its comments on the motion argued for an open debate on the issue. It also stated that the persecution of the Armenians and other ethnic groups in 1915 would have constituted genocide according to the definition adopted by the United Nations in its 1948 genocide convention if it “had it been in force at the time.”
The resolution adopted today (by 131 for, 130 against) has previously been refused by the Swedish Parliament. The change can be attributed to a change of policy by the Social Democrats, who at their last party Congress, October 30, 2009, adopted a policy of recognizing the genocide carried out against the Armenians, Assyrian/Chaldeans, Pontic Greeks and Roma and others during 1914-1918 in the then Ottoman Empire. The Swedish Christian Social Democrats, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Social Democrat party members of Assyrian origin played important roles in obtaining this policy change.