2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. On the 24th of April 1915, the Ottoman government began a series of forced deportations, starting with the arrest of roughly 250 Armenian political activists, writers, public intellectuals, politicians, journalists, and other community leaders.

Between 800’000 and 1.5 million Armenians died during the period of executions and deportations following 1915. The events have been described by the historian Richard L. Rubenstein as the “first full-fledged attempt by a modern state to practice disciplined, methodically organised genocide”.

The Turkish government admits the deportations, but claims that any deaths were unintentional, that the numbers involved have been inflated, that massacres were also perpetrated by Armenians against ethnic Turks, and that the forced marches into the Syrian desert were primarily intended to prevent Armenian revolutionaries from allying with Tsarist Russia during the first world war.

There have been recent signs that Turkey is starting to reconsider its official history. People are no longer sent to jail for describing the events in 1915 as a ‘genocide’. In 2014, Turkey’s then prime minister (and current president) Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish leader to offer public condolences for the mass killing of Armenians.

We had a question sent by D. Kohler from Austria via our ‘suggest a debate’ form:

citizen_icon_180x180Should Turkey be sanctioned by the EU and the international community for refusing to acknowledge its crimes against humanity committed against the Armenian Christians?

But would sanctions really be effective? And, anyway, is such a discussion not premature? Only 28 governments worldwide (15 of them EU Member States) recognise the events of 1915 as a genocide. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, feel that reconciliation cannot be achieved if foreign governments fixate on the past. In other European countries, including Greece, Italy, and Slovakia, it is illegal to deny that a genocide took place.

Should more countries recognise the Armenian genocide? Are relations between Turkey and Armenia finally beginning to heal? And is Turkish society opening up to a different interpretation of the past? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Raffi Youredjian

71 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Dan Florin

    yes! no matter who killed, a genocide is a genocide and should be treated accordingly.

    • avatar

      Yes, but Did Romania recognize the Armenian Genocide? Bulgaria did, although with some changes due to pressure from the Turkish Government. Bulgaria unlike Romania was part of the Ottoman Empire…

  2. avatar
    Diaconu George Razvan

    Should we live in a society where the winner writes the history ( this might not be possible anymore because of the current technology advances) , or should we live in a society where we accept the truth as it is , as inconvenient as it is.

  3. avatar
    Bita Nahal Peace

    Not just Armenian genocide should be recognised, but also other nations like Africans, Indians, the Chinese, the Irish, the iranians, the greecks, the red skin Indians and few other nations who faced with brutal discriminations and politics of hatred and racism and fascism, should be account responsible and those nations connected to that authority or hatered history, not the victims, should seriously admit to the wrong doing of their proud ancesstory and make friendly, humble, warm, positive and peaceful steps to put the sad legacies babind and making constructive new positive relationships, which is based on humanity and humility and empathy and wise and intelligent cooperations and communications and dealings with one another. This way, Everyone would benefit from wisdom and exchanging constructive ways and ideas to move forward and make a better future for everyone

  4. avatar
    Νικολάι Κόσεβ

    How will Turkey benefit the EU? With more genocides and hate? No, thanks.
    The Turkish government isn’t reliable at the moment. Not with such a nut-head like Erdogan.

  5. avatar
    Tenia Christopoulos

    I believe that it would be an excellent decision on the part of Turkey to acknowledge, recognize and admit to what they have done. As did Germany after the world wars.

  6. avatar
    Muscas Anne

    They should recognize all of the criminal genocides incl. the Greek genocide. After all it’s for real, but whether they are willing to recognize it they’re guilty.
    Let them deny it for internal consumption in their country.
    The world knows! What they’re capable of doing. Since the Ottoman empire, 32 countries… Yes they were slaughtering blindly…

  7. avatar
    Muscas Anne

    They should recognize all of the criminal genocides incl. the Greek genocide. After all it’s for real, but whether they are willing to recognize it they’re guilty.
    Let them deny it for internal consumption in their country.
    The world knows! What they’re capable of doing. Since the Ottoman empire, 32 countries… Yes they were slaughtering blindly…

  8. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    should?? Why does debate europe uses «should» so much… what does should mean?

  9. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    should?? Why does debate europe uses «should» so much… what does should mean?

  10. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    The Arménia Genocide happened; the Pontic Greek Genocide happened; the Assirian Genocide happened. If peoples, and governments, want to recognize or come to terms with what happened.. they’re late.. but better late than never. IF they don’t.. it’s up to them…

  11. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    The Arménia Genocide happened; the Pontic Greek Genocide happened; the Assirian Genocide happened. If peoples, and governments, want to recognize or come to terms with what happened.. they’re late.. but better late than never. IF they don’t.. it’s up to them…

  12. avatar
    Milos Kostovski

    Honestly, EU membership is becoming a downright blackmailing process for one country over another. I don’t know how people cannot see that this model just builds up the latent animosities. Bilateral issues should remain bilateral no matter the difficulties that one issue carries. The current generations should be brave enough to detach from the history fed nationalism and invest in the future construct we plan to build, a common European state where all people are equal. Greeks are now complaining for example about an economic genocide but they are not noble enough to see that they have been doing the same to their neighbours. Don’t you just love this hypocrisy!

    • avatar

      We in the uk do not want to be part of the eu, it is corrupt and hostile, yes all genocide should be named including what Angela Merkle is doing to Europe now, white genocide,,,,

    • avatar

      Actually Palestine is the aggressor, Israel is the defender, your caliphate is vile and murderous and if Palestine stopped the aggression peace would reign

  13. avatar
    Alexandros Apostolidis

    And not only the Armenian Genocide – there also was the Assyrian Genocide and the Genocide of Pontic and Anatolian Greeks, which acocunt for 1 million deaths and 2-3 million people expatriated each.

  14. avatar
    Pirvulescu Florin

    The Republic of Turkey was born out of genocide of the non-Turkic ethnic groups inhabiting Anatolia.

    This is the truth and the Turks should make peace with it.

    • avatar

      A very good point.

  15. avatar
    Liliana Ramsing

    Turkey is not opened for many things…they are not europeans in mentality and belive. Why EU should have them? We should not forget the painful past with them, as well the gypsies emigration from Turkey to all Europe…maybe EU wants more of them??

  16. avatar
    Adnan Soysal

    Turkey Will never recognise the racist lies rising on religiiues differences.
    If eu does not accept membership for This, they are more Than welcomed.

  17. avatar
    Giorgos Hatzidakis

    Not ONLY the ARMENIAN but also the GENOCIDES of GREEKS and ASSYRIANS must be recognized and all PROPERTY must be RETURNED!!! Also the ILLEGAL OCCUPATION of CYPRUS must END and illegally transported IMMIGRANTS from TURKEY must MOVE AWAY!!! We are letting Turkey :get away with murder” much too often, thus why the MOST CRIMINAL NATION keeps commiting more HORRIFIC crimes each time!!! Look at what they are doing to KURDS fighting for their FREEDOM and LIVES!!! Look at their SUPPORT of ISIS CRIMINALS!!

    • avatar

      And now they want to fast track them into the EU,,,, it is pathetic,

  18. avatar
    catherine benning

    How can any genocide be denied? It is a historical fact. You cannot change facts.

    And, Palestine, how about that genocide in progress? And the world stays silent. Horribly Bizarre.

  19. avatar
    Nikolay Nikolov

    Yes, but it is wrong to promise EU membership in return. turkey must recognize the genocide in any case

  20. avatar
    Eugenia Serban

    Turkey is an islamic state, ruled with rough authority by dictatorship.
    Discrimination, lack of democracy, heavy breach on all human rights , gender inequity are the main features of this asian country.
    No af7nity with Europe.

  21. avatar
    Muhammet Göztaş

    Guys! You all need to go and read some history not fairytales from your public books.
    There are many foreigner historian that tells there were no ‘genocide’ with proving documents. Any of you could argue that you can prove it with historical documents ??? Turkish government already suggested establish an international institute with historians not with politicians! But why Armenian state ignored it ? Who can give me a proper answer ?
    But anyway Turkey should not enter EU because don’t have to be. At the same time Europeans never willing to see Turkey in EU ;) so the game is about: attracting Turkey with membership and tells to do what Brussel (I don’t who really governs) wants. So Turkey need to forget about EU for its interest and focus East more as it used to be.

  22. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Who cares for that ? They killed them for long time ago . Better we should think how to save Africans , they are still alive .

  23. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    May be because the photos are so explicit, this post of Debating Europe do not allow to put pictures. So convenient…….

  24. avatar
    Paul X

    I suggest instead of wasting effort on trying to humiliate a country for something an earlier generation did that more focus should put be on the current genocidal tendencies of ISIS which is actually affecting people now

    • avatar

      An earlier generation, same culture, same state. If we do not accept the mistakes of the past, they will be repeated in future. Isn’t Turkey bombing the Kurds in response to being bombed by ISIS? Wasn’t Turkey opposing the US bombing ISIS?

    • avatar

      Isn’t Turkey refusing to withdraw from Cyprus which it occupies illegally?

  25. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    Should be the prerogative of every sovereign state to decide! Oh, lost sovereignty?
    Of interest? Not part of the EU- maybe part of premature EC enlargement plans?
    No worries, EMI- an arm of the EU “decided” already on behalf of all EU members.

    More Turkey- less Armenia? Some Q & A.

    More EU- less sovereign European national states? Soon another case of “never again” in hindsight? Planned EC “atrocities” on the free spirits of former sovereign members- or could it develop even into premeditated spiritual genocide?

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive


      my comment remains “sin binned”- why?

  26. avatar
    Sue Crawley

    Turkey should not be allowed to join the EU until they withdraw from Cyprus

  27. avatar

    I think that it is historians that need to provide us with an answer to this question. However, it would be wrong to concentrate on the suffering of one individual people at the hands of the Young Turks. Others were slaughtered en masse as well and this should be debated too: Assyrians, Greeks etc. The whole modern Turkish state is founded on the understanding that non-Muslim populations are eliminated and not part of it. The Turkish public needs to be educated as well, so that they know, where they came from.

  28. avatar

    All countries should recognize the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides, because they are facts. There are records and proof all over the world about it. I don’t hold an eye for an eye, you can’t blame the new generations for what happened 100 years ago. But I expect and I want a democratic Turkey because this is good for all neighbours and all Balkan people. Talking to Turkish people on the web and I talked to many anonymous citizens, I realized they are much into nationalism and ethnicism. The results of their votes reveal it, they gave a 40% to Erdogan (who is a populist rightwing leader in favour of neo-Ottomanism) , they gave a 25% to the Republican Party (we all know that Republicans in fact are conservatives too and this is the traditional Kemal party, we also know how Kemal ended up with all minorities in Turkey), they gave a 16% to the extreme nationalists (the equivalent of Golden Dawn in Turkey) and 13% to HDP, which is the leftwing party that guarantees human rights in all levels. Neo-Ottomanism causes a nightmare to all Balkans, because of their struggles and revolutions to be independent, this is the islamist path with Erdogan. The Kemal path is not less dangerous, it’s just less religious, it’s a form of military democracy. Military democracy is haunting Turkey since the 1st time they became independent in 1930, because when Kemal expelled and killed the minorities, he had no upper classes any more, so he formed the new upper class from the army. Some leftwing leaders were quite ironically thrilled by Kemal’s plan, thinking that it was a war against imperialism. It was a well organized plan to end up with all minorities and create a homogenous nation. The Kurds are still there, causing a heartache and they want to end up with this minority too. Don’t forget that Hitler called Kemal his shining star and he copied his methods and concentration camps to apply it to Jewish people. Lets dont forget to mention that Jewish people were the victims of the same ideology.

  29. avatar

    Should Turkey be sanctioned by the EU and the international community for refusing to acknowledge its crimes against humanity committed against the Armenian Christians?

    100% YES!

    Killing is an atrocity and should be condemned

  30. avatar
    Gerardo Follie

    The motion, which garnered support from all political groups, encouraged Turkey to “use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide as an important opportunity” to open its archives, “come to terms with its past” as well as recognize the genocide. By doing so, Turkey would pave the way for a “genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples”.

  31. avatar
    Nikos Themelis

    Unfortunately Turkey cannot admit the genocides because it was founded on the notion that Kemal was the founder of Turkey. If they admit the genocides they will admit also that their country’s founder was a genocidal murderer, like Hitler.
    No nation wants to have a Hitler as a country founder.

  32. avatar

    Haven’t seen so much greeks with hatred and racism against turks and now they are pissed off about eu economic genocide.
    What economic benefits does Greeks offer to EU apart from burden. They should not have been accepted to EU in the first place.
    Why isnt anybody talking about genocide of Armania over Azerbaijan or France over Algeria and even better Israel genocide over Palestine.

  33. avatar

    The republic of Turkey offered many times to establish a commission of investigation and examine every details together and offered to open the archives of Armenia, Russia, Germany, England and etc., but Armania did not want to open its archives and does not want to join this commission and examine this genocide allegation. Armenia insist on the idea that Turkish people killed 1.5 Milion people 100 years ago. Comon lets open the archives and investigate this issue, we are here and ready to do this but you are affraid of doing this because you know that it is a big lie !!!!! They used to say 300.000 people were killed and than said 700.000 were killed and than said 1 Million were killed and nowdays thay say more than 1.5 Million Armenian people were killed. Show us where those 1.5 Million people were buried after death ??? Even they cannot show and prove 100.000 grave in Turkish teritory!!!!! If we need to talk about the genocide , I mean a real genocide let’s talk about the genocide which European people did in Africa!!!!!!

    • avatar

      Comment, I think it makes perfect sense that Armenians would not want the events examined by Turkey itself. Besides, we already know Turkey’s stance on the issue and nobody expects it to change. Presumably all these governments that are recognising the events as genocide have examined the evidence and have used the advice of historians. Why don’t you trust them?

  34. avatar
    Great White

    Armenian genocide allegation is a lie and politic propaganda. All over the EU supports armenians because they are the christian. The western world working very hard and forcing Turkey to acccept the so-called armenian genocide . There is movies, the first aghet, then the promise. Wondering is there any movie about the eu’s famous human zoo’s ? Vendee, Brundie, Syria, Algeria, Haiti, Libya, Vietnam,Rwanda, Morocco genocides by France, any movies ? Kenyan and Boer consantration camps by Britain ”10 percent of the entire Boer population died in the British camps”, Partitioning of India 30 million ppl perished, any movies ? Over 10 million ppl slaughtered by Belgium,just for the land & the natural sources, any movies ? I can list thousands of crap here but everyone talking about the armenian lies. Lets be honest, armenian genocide allegation is the biggest lie and political propaganda. The christian world supports the Christian armenians. But its chrystal clear that the Brits,Frenchs,Greeks and armenians went to invade Turkey and we all know the result. Thats the truth. Prof. Donald Bloxham : The great game of genocide. Dr.Edward J.Ericson from US Marine Corps University, “”The Armenian Relocations and Ottoman National Security: Military Necessity or Excuse for Genocide” How the armenian terrorists attack the villagers. You can find some documents from 1890. Documents Judge Samuel A.Wemms said, Secrets of the christian Terorist State:Armenia. They still supports terrorism. https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/93STATE220237_a.html
    So-called armenian genocide, for the armenians: Its easiest way to collect money.. Thats the truth.
    Armenian crime amnesia

  35. avatar
    Abdul halim

    I am in Afghanistan Herat city 5th district 64mitra Street work as Human Rights Defender (area of work and what your work consists of). If you are a member of an organisation, please also describe the organisation’s mission and main focus of work :I am a doctor I am a homogenioses I am a Defenders in Afghanistan Herat city 5th district 64mitra Street sadiq I am hazara.i am a Religious minority I am a Civil activist& I am a homone rights Defender.

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