Turkey Up In Arms Over Dutch Government’s Decision To Recognise Armenian Genocide

Jae C. HongAP Images

The government of Turkey is furious with the Netherlands after a vote was put through by parliament to officially recognise the murder of 1.5 million Christians in Armenia from 1915-1917 at the hands of the Ottoman government, also known as the Armenian Genocide or Armenian Holocaust. Turkey has famously referred to the mass slaughter as the “Armenian question” as they refuse to acknowledge it as a true genocide, and therefore the acting Dutch ambassador is being ordered by the Turkish parliament to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the matter at hand.

According to DutchNews, the vote put forward by Christian Union MP Joel Voordewind was backed by a majority of other members of parliament, and thus the events of 1915 were given official genocide status as of last week. In addition, politicians supported the appearance of a Dutch minister at the upcoming commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, which the country holds each April. A statement was later given by Voordewind in which he referred to the decision as the Netherlands “[taking] a stand as the home of the institutions of international law in The Hague.” He went on to say that the passing of the bill was the Dutch government “acknowledging history,” which he feels is entirely different from the actions taken against his country by Turkey in the past, in which they “[casted] aspersions.”

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This recent conflict surrounding the Armenian Genocide, reveals Panorama, does nothing to improve relations between the two countries. Earlier this month, the Dutch ambassador to Turkey was officially withdrawn, after having no representation for almost a year at this point. In March of 2017, a Turkish minister was escorted by police from the Netherlands, after his request to take part in a Rotterdam rally of supporters was denied.

Not only does Turkey deny that the Armenian Genocide was, indeed, a deliberate attempt to wipe out the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, country officials also dispute the number of people who lost their lives as a result of the slaughter. While most historians are adamant that the death toll sits around 1.5 million, the Turkish government insists that it was actually more in the range of 200,000 to 300,000. They also claim that these individuals did not die from being purposefully exterminated, but from disease and famine, as well as “inter-ethnic strife.”