France pledged to strive for greater international recognition of the 195 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey after welcoming a corresponding resolution adopted by Germany’s parliament on Thursday.
“I welcome the Bundestag vote for recognition of the Armenian genocide,” French Secretary of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir wrote on Twitter shortly after the passage of the resolution.
“France will continue to fight for universal recognition of the Armenian genocide,” added Desir.
France is one of 24 countries of the world that have officially recognized as genocide the 1915 slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire. It did so with a special law enacted in 2001. French President Francois Hollande was among foreign leaders who attended in April 2015 official ceremonies in Yerevan marking the centenary of the Armenian genocide.
Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian greets his French counterpart Francois Hollande at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, 24Apr2015.
Four years ago, the French parliament passed another law which made it a crime to publicly deny the genocide. France’s constitutional court subsequently struck it down as unconstitutional, however. The law was initiated by Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Unlike Germany, France is home to a large Armenian community that mostly consists of descendants of genocide survivors. The CCAF, an umbrella structure uniting the community’s main organizations, was quick to welcome the Bundestag vote as a “fatal blow” to Turkey’s long-running policy of genocide denial.
“This vote marked a decisive stage in the fight for Turkey’s recognition of this historical fact, universal condemnation of the genocide, and justice and reparations for the Armenian people,” the CCAF said in a statement.
The leading Armenian advocacy groups in the United States also hailed the German resolution angrily condemned by Ankara. They have for decades been lobbying for an official U.S. recognition of the genocide.
“The Armenian Assembly of America applauds the Bundestag's principled stand, especially as Turkey continues to blockade Armenia, refuses to normalize relations with Armenia and unconditionally supported Azerbaijan's recent attempt to once again wipe Armenians off the map in Nagorno-Karabakh,” said its executive director, Bryan Ardouny.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), for its part, used the “historic vote” in Berlin to again decry President Barack Obama’s failure to honor his past pledges to refer to the Armenian massacres as genocide. “There is still time for President Obama to follow Germany's lead, reject Turkey's gag-rule, and speak honestly about the Armenian Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, the ANCA director.