LOS ANGELES – On May 24, 2016 a delegation of Armenian Council of America and Gaidz Youth Organization visited the German Consul General to hand deliver a letter from the Armenian American community, urging Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German Parliament to remain steadfast and recognize the Armenian Genocide. Similar letters will be delivered to German Missions throughout the Armenian Diaspora as well as to German government representatives and Parliamentarians.
Germany’s parliament is set to vote on a cross-party bill on June 2nd, recognizing the 1915-1923 Genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Turkey.
The following is the English translation of the open letter:
Honorable Chancellor Merkel,
In view of the approaching vote by the German Bundestag on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian people are hopeful that the national government and the coalition partners led by you will formulate a clear and unambiguous resolution in the Parliament, in which the crimes against the Armenian people ARE recognized as Genocide.
Regrettably, it was not until 2005 that the subject of the Armenian Genocide was first discussed in the German Parliament. The subsequent resolution in June 2005 was accepted by all factions but fell far short of the expectations of the Armenian people.
In contrast to the resolution adopted by the European Parliament in 1987, followed by resolutions of numerous national parliaments, the German Parliament refrained from clearly acknowledging these crimes as Genocide. A further ten years passed before the Armenian Genocide issue was once again raised in the German Parliament on April 24, 2015.
Last year, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, German President Joachim Gauck in his speech at the Berlin Cathedral declared the massacres as Genocide. The following day, on April 24, 2015, during the debate in the Parliament, representatives of all factions followed the President’s lead in acknowledging the massacres as Genocide, but unfortunately the parliament was unable to agree upon a closing resolution.
In 2005, the Parliament accepted partial responsibility for the elimination of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire. In view of the historical importance of this fact, the Armenian people find the current stance of the German government unacceptable and incomprehensible. This stance is unbecoming to a country where the commemorative culture has such a high value. The Armenian people expect that the German Government and all Parliamentary parties will finally show enough courage to officially recognize the events of 1915 for what they were: Genocide.
In 2005, France took a clear stand and officially recognized the events as Genocide despite tremendous pressures by the Turkish government. If Germany declines to recognize these crimes as Genocide, we can only view this decision as an act of appeasement toward Turkey, very much like the period between 1915 and 1918, when Germany did nothing to prevent or stop the slaughter of Armenians out of consideration to its Turkish allies. Former Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg wrote at the time “Our only goal is to KEEP Turkey as an ally until the end of the war, indifferent to whether the Armenians perish or not.”
Recently, the Chairman of the CDU/CSU Faction stated in a newspaper interview that his faction will put forward a motion in the Parliament on June 2nd, 2016 in which the crimes against the Armenian people will be recognized as Genocide. He has also stated that Germany will not bow to Turkish pressure. We are optimistic that the CDU/CSU faction will position its decision around this clear statement and urge you and your Government not to be influenced by the threats and blackmail attempts of the Turkish Government, and follow the example of other European institutions and Parliaments in recognizing the Armenian Genocide.