The Swedish Riksdag calls the killing of Armenians by Turks a genocide

March 15, 2010

Last week the parliment of Sweden, Riksdagen, made an official statement that the systematic Turkish murdering of Armenians, among several other ethnic groups (including Greeks) living in the former Ottoman Empire 1915, is to be considered a genocide. The number of civilians killed differs depending on which historian you ask, most of them are counting the victims in hundreds of thousands. Why the Swedish elected assembly made it’s official position clear just now I don’t know, probably it is related to the recent decision by the USA to do just the same.
I was positively surprised by this decision, especially since a handful of elected officials from the , though I recognize that Sweden’s diplomatic work to put an end to Turkeys evidential oppression of ethnic minorities in the country will now become even harder. This is true since the Turks will now feel insulted (just as a stubborn child refusing to apologize to it’s little brother) resulting in them becoming even more nationalistic. Turkish nationalism is the true root of the problem.

The founding father of Sweden as a nation was according to many (including myself) the 16th century king Gustav Vasa. He was up until the early 1900’s regarded a good and just ruler in our history books. This image of the old king is of course a big heap of crap since he was a tyrant with the blood of innocent people allover his hands, as was the case with all European kings during his time. Since his crimes were committed so long ago, though, I as a Swede don’t have any problems with historians calling him a murderer and the creation of Sweden as a nation a massacre. Turkey, though, was founded only a hundred years ago which I guess makes it harder for the Turks to have a more nuanced (and probably more historically correct) view of the early Turkish leaders.

It is also problematic for a supposedly democratic country to have a state-approved “official” version of history (compare this to the re-writing of history in F.Y.R.O.M regarding it’s claimed Greek heritage). Having said that, I personally believe that it is time for the rest of the world to stop neglecting Turkeys history. Since we all(?) agree that the holocaust of the Jews in Nazi-Germany during the 40’s was a genocide, Sweden has made it’s official position here very clear several times, the same must apply to the Turkish situation. Germany and it’s people have accepted the dark and sad parts of their history and moved on building a society that respects human rights. So must Turkey if they ever wish to earn the respect of the western democracies.


4 Responses to “The Swedish Riksdag calls the killing of Armenians by Turks a genocide”

  1. 420 Says:

    Swedish Riksdag is supposedly the number one authority on all history and decides history by one(1) vote.

    • harfagre Says:

      Most members of our parliament, from both the red and blue fraction, agree that the events of 1915 was a genocide. The traditional Swedish partipiska cut firmly through the air the day of the voting, though, resulting in the current decision being made with only a tiny majority.

  2. Grå Says:

    I don’t get why politicians should decide these kinds of things at all. I am a historian, and I have studied these massacres. There are no room for interpretations, it clearly was a genocide. If any government want to know what to call a historical event, just ask the experts of the subject.

    As the evidence clearly show that it was a genocide, no objective historian will say that it was not, at least not before some evidence surface that shows that it was not. What some politicians decide has no bearing to this fact.

    • harfagre Says:

      Only by learning from the past can we hope to avoid it repeating itself. My point is that any country that denies it’s own history clearly demonstrate it’s unwillingness to learn from it’s mistakes. Sometimes we must therefore be there to point out the historical facts for them.

      Consider how absurd it would be if Germany suddenly denied that the Nazi-regime committed crimes against humanity during the second world war. It would create a very special atmosphere in the European Parliament the next day, wouldn’t you say?

      Turkey is hoping to join the EU in a not to distant future. Imagine a Greek MEP who has had his grandfather murdered by Turks back in 1915 sitting next to a Turkish one denying it ever happened. Would this be a good ground on which to build European cooperation?

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