Armenia’s parliament on Tuesday expressed gratitude to over two dozen countries that have recognized the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and called on other nations to do the same.
In a statement backed by virtually all of its factions, the National Assembly also endorsed a declaration on the subject that was adopted by President Serzh Sarkisian and leaders of the worldwide Armenia Diaspora in Yerevan in January.
The “pan-Armenian declaration” described the approaching 100th anniversary of the genocide as an “important milestone” in the decades-long Armenian campaign for its broader international recognition. It made clear that Armenia and its Diaspora will strive to not only get more countries to condemn the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians but also “overcome consequences of the genocide.”
The declaration was strongly criticized by Levon Ter-Petrosian, Armenia’s first president and the top leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK). Ter-Petrosian stood by his view that Armenia must not press Turkey or any other states to acknowledge that the 1915 mass killings constituted genocide.
The HAK’s small parliamentary faction cited similar reasons for its refusal to back Tuesday’s statement adopted by 113 lawmakers representing the five other Armenian parliamentary parties. The faction leader, Levon Zurabian, said the document runs counter to Armenia’s national interests.
“We are telling the world to jointly fight against genocide so that such crimes are never repeated in the future,” countered Tevan Poghosian, a deputy from another opposition party, Zharangutyun (Heritage).