What is genocide? It has been over a hundred years, yet it remains a painful piece of history that still has a lot of tension: the Armenian genocide. Genocide literally means genocide , then there is a constant and deliberate killing of a people or population group. One of the best known examples of genocide is the Holocaust. But what is the Armenian genocide? Between 1915 and 1917, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were murdered by Turks. The Christian Armenians were expelled from their territories in Turkey. The exact reason for this is still not entirely clear. And why is it so sensitive? According to historian Tayfun Balcik, it really is about the word genocide. “The Turks deny that genocide has been committed. According to Turkey, it was a civil war, in which, besides Armenian victims, there were many Turkish victims. In Turkey it is forbidden to speak of an Armenian genocide.” In France and Belgium they are already talking about the Armenian genocide, but in the UK and Israel they prefer not to talk about genocide. In the Netherlands, too, we prefer to talk about the Armenian question. The Dutch cabinet has never fully acknowledged the genocide. According to Prime Minister Rutte, it does not solve the problem and does not ensure that the relationship between Armenia and Turkey is restored. According to Tayfun, the fact that the Netherlands does not want to call it genocide has to do with the relationship between the Netherlands and Turkey. “The Netherlands does not want to bump Turkey in the head. It also has to do with economic cooperation, for example. If the Netherlands recognises the genocide, it may mean that Turkey will be bothered by cooperation.”
Who finds what? For Armenians, recognition from the Netherlands would be an important step, says Tayfun. “Its terrible for them what happened. In addition to recognition, some Armenians also demand recovery payments.” “Many Turkish-Dutch people deny the genocide, so they will not be very happy with the recognition in the Netherlands. They may perceive it as if the West is challenging Turkey,” says Tayfun. According to Sinan Can, who made a series about the Armenian genocide, the discussion between Armenian and Turkish-Dutch flares up every year. “Especially around April, when Armenians reflect on the genocide, tensions between these two groups are sometimes high. Even though young people are far from it, because it was a hundred years ago, it remains something that comes close to them,” says Sinan.
Three years ago, the House of Representatives called it Armenian genocide itself, but the cabinet still holds on to the issue. That must be otherwise found by a majority of the House of Representatives. Especially the Christian Union has been trying since 2004 to get the genocide recognised by Turkey by the Netherlands.
The parties want to restore the relationship between Armenia and Turkey and prevent any further mass murder of this kind in the future.