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.