Countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide are 29 as of 2017, including 48 US states out of 50. The Armenian Genocide recognition is vital as it has facts on the massacre committed by the Ottoman Empire.
Countries that recognize the Armenian genocide are the ones that formally accept the systematic massacres and forced deportation of Armenians implemented by the Ottoman Empire from 1915-1923.
Although historian and academic institutions on Holocaust and genocide studies accept the Armenian Genocide, many countries refuse to do so in order to maintain their political relations with the Republic of Turkey. Azerbaijan and Turkey are the only countries that refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide and threaten economic and diplomatic consequences to the ones who do.
The Armenian Genocide memorial complex was built in 1967 on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd in Yerevan. The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, opened in 1995, presents facts about the horror of the massacres.
Turkey has been urged to recognize the Armenian Genocide multiple times, but the sad fact is that the government denies the word “genocide” as an accurate term for the massacres.
Facts about countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide, the memorial and criminalize the denial
The Entente Powers issued a statement on May 24, 1915, saying that officers of the Ottoman Government involved in the Armenian Genocide would be personally held responsible for crimes against humanity. Parliaments of several countries began recognizing the event as genocide starting from the second half of the 20th century.
- The left-libertarian and green Turkish political party, The Green Left Party, is the only one recognizing the Armenian Genocide within the country.
- Uruguay became the first country to recognize in 1965 and later in 2004.
- Cyprus was next to be the country that recognized the Armenian genocide: first in 1975, 1982 and 1990. Moreover, it became the first to raise the issue to the UN General Assembly. Denying the Armenian Genocide is also criminalized in Cyprus.
- France also criminalized the denial of the Armenian Genocide in 2016 after recognizing it in 1998 and 2001. After the adoption of the bill that criminalized in on October 14, 2016, it was passed by the French National Assembly in July 2017. It stipulates a penalty of a year in prison or a €45,000 fine.
- Greece recognized the event as genocide in 1996 and according to a 2014 act, the denial is punishable up to 3 years in prison and a fine which is not to exceed €30,000.
Countries That Recognize The Armenian Genocide: Switzerland and laws on the memorial
Switzerland recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2003, where denial is a crime. Doğu Perinçek, a Turkish politician, lawyer and chairman of the left-wing nationalist Patriotic Party, became the first person to receive a criminal conviction for denial of the Armenian Genocide. The ruling was done by a Swiss court in 2007.
Perinçek’s case was a result of him describing the Armenian Genocide as an international lie in Lausanne in 2005. His case was appealed to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. His judgment was in his favor on the grounds of free speech. According to the court: “Mr. Perinçek was making a speech of a historical, legal and political nature in a contradictory debate.”
Although sentenced to life imprisonment in August 2013, he was eventually released in 2014. After his release, he sided with the Justice and Development Party and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Facts about countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide and the memorial
- The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg announced the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in 2015 after the Chamber of Deputies unanimously adopted a resolution.
- Brazil’s resolution on the recognition of the massacres was approved by the Federal Senate.
- As for Bolivia, the genocide recognition resolution was approved unanimously by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies with the support of the Foreign Ministry.
- Bulgaria became another country that recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2015, but it was followed by criticism. On April 24, 2015, Bulgaria used the phrase “mass extermination of the Armenian People in the Ottoman Empire”. They were criticized for not using the term “genocide”. The Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov stated that the phrase or idiom was the Bulgarian word for “genocide”.
- Germany announced its recognition twice: in 2005 and 2016. The resolution first passed reading in 2016. The same year in July, the German Bundestag passed it with only one vote against that called the event “genocide”.
Among other countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide are
- the Netherlands,
Many countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide have had representatives visit the memorial
The official memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims in Yerevan is Tsitsernakaberd.
On April, 24, 1965, the Yerevan demonstrations had taken place on the 50th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. This was the first step in promoting recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The event was so monumental that for the first time in the Soviet Union, 100,000 protesters held a 24-hour demonstration in front of the Yerevan Opera Theatre demanding the Soviet Union’s recognition.
The slogan of the demonstration was “Just solution to the Armenian question”.This marked a substantial public awareness of the Armenian Genocide in Soviet Armenia. It sparked similar protests throughout the world where the Armenian diaspora exists.
2 years after the mass demonstration, the Armenian Genocide memorial was opened. Later, when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, the memorial became a part of official ceremonies in Armenia.
The memorial has had many visitors from countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide. A visit there also includes a tour in the museum. Paying tribute to the victims of the massacre also includes planting trees in the area.
Notable visitors of the memorial from countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide
One of Armenia’s most important foreign policy issues is the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. It is the top goal of diasporan organizations as visiting there is deemed as a sign of recognition.
One of the most symbolic visits to the memorial was Pope John Paul II’s arrival on September 25, 2001.
The visit symbolized the 1,700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of Armenia. The day after he met with then-president Robert Kocharyan he visited the memorial where he a laid a wreath, made a short speech and read a prayer.
He used the Armenian term for genocide “Mets yeghern” (Մեծ Եղեռն). This caused a controversy regarding whether or not he recognized it as a genocide.
The former First Lady of the US and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Yerevan on July 4, 2010.
She became the highest-ranked US official to visit the country. Since the US has not recognized the Armenian Genocide, her visit became a matter of discussion in the Armenian media. She laid the wreath at the memorial that said “From Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton”. This was a clear political message sent to Turkey by the US.
Famous Visitors of the Armenian Genocide Memorial
Among celebrity visitors are:
- John Malkovich
- George Clooney
- Charles Aznavour
- Alexis Ohanian
- Kim Kardashian
- Khloe Kardashian
- Alain Delon
- Serj Tankian
- Tony Iommi
- Ian Gillan
- Montserrat Caballe
- Kanye West
- Andrei Tarkovsky
- Hrant Dink
- Paulo Coelho
- Gerard Depardieu
- Conan O’Brien
- Ronda Rousey
- Charlie Armstrong
- Pope Francis
- Arthur Abraham
- Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
- Vladimir Putin
- Sergey Lavrov
- Dmitry Medvedev
Among countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide, there have been people who have refused to visit the memorial.
While attending a football match in Armenia between the Armenian and Turkish national teams in Yerevan in September 2008, former Turkish President Abdullah Gul did not visit the memorial. He refused to do so as the Turkish government denies the fact of genocide.
Among other presidents who refused to visit were President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad and former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This move was done in order not to compromise their relationship with the Republic of Turkey.
Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe also refused to visit the memorial. He asked to have his decision respected.
Presidents that Recognize the Armenian Genocide
Presidents from countries that recognize the Armenian Genocide are:
- Carlos Menem (Argentina)
- Emil Constantinescu (Romania)
- Petar Stefanov Stoyanov (Bulgaria)
- Konstantinos “Kostis” Stephanopoulos (Greece)
- Émile Jamil Lahoud (Lebanon)
- Ion Iliescu (Romania)
- Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze (Georgia)
- Aleksander Kwaśniewski (Poland)
- Askar Akayevich Akayev (Kyrgyzstan)
- Leonid Danylovych Kuchma (Ukraine)
- Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin (Russia)
- Rolandas Paksas (Lithuania)
- Mohammad Khatami (Iran)
- Arnold Rüütel (Estonia)
- Tarja Kaarina Halonen (Finland)
- Traian Băsescu (Romania)
- Jacques René Chirac (France)
- Stjepan “Stipe” Mesić (Croatia)
- Mikheil Saakashvili (Goergia)
- Demetris Christofias (Cyprus)
- Boris Tadić (Serbia)
- Valdis Zatlers (Latvia)
- Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev (Russia)
- Danilo Türk (Slovenia)
- Micheline Anne-Marie Calmy-Rey (Switzerland)
- Dalia Grybauskaitė (Lithuania)
- Nicolas Sarkozy (France)
- Bronisław Maria Komorowski (Poland)
- Michel Sleiman (Lebanon)
- Heinz Fischer (Austria)
- Aleksandr Grigoryevich Lukashenko (Belarus)
- Karolos Papoulias (Greece)
- Giorgi Margvelashvili (Georgia)
- Didier Burkhalter (Swiss Confederation)
- Nicos Anastasiades (Greece)
- Tomislav Nikolić (Serbia)
- François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande (France)
- Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (Russia)
- Miloš Zeman (Czech Republic)
- Emomali Rahmon (Tajikistan)
- Rumen Georgiev Radev (Bulgaria)
- Michel Naim Aoun (Lebanon)
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