THE HAGUE – Lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament overwhelmingly voted Thursday to recognize the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks more than a century ago. The move is likely to further ratchet up diplomatic tensions between the Netherlands and Turkey.
“The motion is accepted,” parliamentary speaker Khadija Arib announced after the lower house voted 142 to 3 in favor of the proposal “that parliament in no uncertain terms speak about the Armenian genocide”. The three MPs of DENK (who are of Turkish descent) were the only opponents of the recognition.
It also agreed to send a cabinet representative to Yerevan in April for the commemoration of the killings and every five years afterwards.
Despite the vote, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag said that the Dutch government wouldn’t follow the parliament’s lead.
Kaag says the Cabinet will “continue to exercise restraint” in the politically charged issue.
“We’ll pay our respects to the victims and relatives of all massacres of minorities,” Kaag said, stressing that the cabinet would not make a judgment on whether there had been “a genocide”.
However, Kaag did say that the government would comply with a motion calling on the administration to send a representative to a service in April in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, commemorating the Genocide.