‘We are at consensus stage in world over recognition of Armenian Genocide’ – expert
YEREVAN, APRIL 22, ARMENPRESS. The process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, in general, is at a consensus stage formed in the world, Head of Comparative Genocide Studies Department at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, PhD in History Suren Manukyan said in an interview to Armenpress on the occasion of the 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Mr. Manukyan highly appreciated the current level of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, stating that most of the key goals put on the basis of this process back decades ago are already fulfilled. And one of the pillars of these goals was the United States that recognized the Genocide not only at a Congress, but also at a presidential level.
He also highlighted the adoption of the resolution on the recognition by Germany. Manukyan said it would be desirable if the key role players, such as the United Kingdom, Israel and Turkey, were also included in the list of countries that acknowledged the fact of the Genocide, but adds that this is not realistic for now.
Manukyan says the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, in fact, is a political process, is just one of the stages, not a key goal, of the process run by all Armenians and Armenia, but he notes that it is necessary to understand that the international recognition is the first step to strengthen the legal positions and go to international courts. In this respect he highlights the activity of the Armenian statehood and diplomats, stating that this also gives its concrete result. And the best example of this was the recognition by Latvia, mainly thanks to the consistent work of Armenian Ambassador Tigran Mkrtchyan.
Asked at what stage the international recognition and condemnation process of the Genocide is now, taking into account the recent important developments in this respect, Suren Manukyan said: “Usually, when we talk about the current situation, we always try to understand what has been done in the past one year. Last year on April 24, we had an unprecedented phenomenon: United States President Joe Biden acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in his April 24th address and finally used that term in his address. It can’t be said that the other presidents were not acknowledging that fact, but the use of that term was always disputable because the US governments, administrations were always giving preference to the geopolitical development with Turkey rather than to the issue of the Armenian Genocide, which was always considered as a humanitarian issue, and they thought that the humanitarian issues could wait. Biden broke that tradition and called what had happened as genocide. But we must accept that for him it was easier to do that because the two chambers of the Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives, have already adopted resolutions on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide back in 2019, and in fact the Armenian Genocide was already recognized by the United States, but we, Armenians, as tradition, were waiting for the President’s speech, and Biden’s speech, in fact, came to close that entire process”.
As for what stage the recognition process is now, the expert on genocidal studies said: “If we remember that years before, in 1995, when Uruguay was the first country in the world to recognize the Armenian Genocide, one of the key goals put on the basis of the process that time was the recognition by the United States, and now we can consider it as fulfilled”.
As for Latvia’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide, he said this was thanks to the good work of Armenian Ambassador to Latvia Tigran Mkrtchyan. “I want to highlight this to show that in many cases we ignore the value of our work. We always think that the recognition is the task of the Armenian community, is a result of the work of local communities, but the example of Latvia showed that it is not so. There is no large Armenian community in Latvia, the ties with Armenia are not so firm as well, but we see that the state policy, the work of the diplomat very clearly give their result, and this is a simple example that all issues could be solved if an effort is made”, he said.
“In general, we are at a stage which can be called as a consensus (mutual consent) in the world over the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, because we see less denial speeches even by those countries which always deny the Armenian Genocide, we see less public demonstrations over the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In other words, we can state that we have reached the stage which we have put forward over the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Of course, we would like some countries to be involved in this list, such as the UK, Israel and eventually Turkey. But we need to be realistic and understand that the interests of these states are in such a big contradiction with the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, that I personally do not expect recognition by these countries”, he said.
Asked whether the expectations that after Biden’s address that the international process of the Armenian Genocide recognition would receive a new impetus given the big influence of the United States are justified or not, the expert said “no, they are not justified”. “We need to understand that those countries, which must have recognized the Armenian Genocide, have already recognized and condemned that fact over the years. The situation in this respect is such that we cannot expect yet new recognitions by many states. But, of course, I agree with you that President Biden’s statement could in some way encourage the Western, European allies of the United States for the recognition. This didn’t happen, but I saw one interesting thing, the activation of the recognition process of the Armenian Genocide in UK. The issue was put on debate and passed the first stage. But the adoption of that bill in the United Kingdom has a strong peculiarity, it should pass 16 levels. It will soon put on the debate for the second level. I want to note that this is also a distant goal”, he said.
Commenting also on the 2016 June 2 recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the German Bundestag, Suren Manukyan said the recognition by Germany is very important. “Germany not only recognizes and condemns the Armenian Genocide, but also accepts its complicity. It is noted that the citizens of Germany, including those influential in the Ottoman army, not only knew, but also could have prevented the killings, but they didn’t take any step for that. In other words, if there is accomplice, then there must be a main culprit. And this is an open proof of the undeniable reality of the Armenian Genocide”, he said.
What role the teaching of the subject of the Armenian Genocide in different countries of the world could play in this process, the expert said that everything starts from education. “It not only gives knowledge, but also forms our visions about the world. The inclusion of the Armenian Genocide topic in the textbooks of different countries of the world will allow to make the Armenian Genocide a part of the world historical heritage, such as the Holocaust. And finally, it is the pressure of societies that could force the governments of many countries to adopt a pro-Armenian position on this matter”, he added.
Full version of the interview is available in Armenian.
Interview by Aram Sargsyan