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Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Rethinking Genocide

26.04.2012  |  14:15

April 24, Armenia and Armenian communities around the world observe the 97th anniversary of the genocide against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, committed in 1915. Each time this date approaches, active debates on whether this time the U.S. president will pronounce the term "genocide" in his annual address, and which country may recognize the genocide, appear on the international scene at different levels.

As already known, the support of the process of international recognition of Armenian Genocide is officially one of the priorities of Armenia's foreign policy. Despite this, the country's state budget provides a paltry sum for the promotion of this issue in the international arena.


The process of international recognition of genocide has undergone some changes in recent years: now it is regarded not as a separate issue, but as an important component of human struggle for recognition of the crime of genocide, in order to prevent its recurrence. That is, this is policy of putting the issue of genocide beyond the "Armenian frameworks", which makes the problem easier to understand for both governments and societies of foreign countries. The goal of this policy is to show that the Armenian genocide - is the tragedy of not only one nation, but an important part of human history.

At the moment, the marathon for the international recognition of genocide has turned into a struggle in order to call the Turkish side to account. The fact is that no significant state in the world (except, of course, Turkey and Azerbaijan) has no doubt that the genocide against the Armenians was committed. That is why in the countries that have recognized the genocide, there is a process of criminalizing public denial of this crime. For example, the steps to bring Turkey to the "indirect" responsibility for the crime committed during 1915-1922.

Overall, despite the fact that the process of recognizing Armenian Genocide at the official level is not associated with normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations (which is now stagnating), but the "struggle for recognition of the genocide" is an important element in the process of the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation. The struggle for international recognition of genocide has always been and remains an instrument of pressure on Turkey in the hands of Armenia, which could push it to the opening of the border.

Diaspora and Armenia have a different perception of genocide. This is understandable, since genocide is an important component of national identity of Armenians in the Diaspora. It has formed certain complexes, which resulted that some members of the community identify themselves with the Armenian nation, since they have underwent genocide.

The concept of the homeland - Hayastan ("Armenia"), which they are now willing to turn into the gravitational center for Armenians around the world and therefore part of their identity, is not yet working. Attempts to change the genocide to Hayastan as a key element for national self identification of Armenian diaspora will not succeed. The fact is that for the Armenians, the concept of Armenia as a state is wider than it actually is. This concept, except for the present territory of Armenia, includes Karabakh, Western Armenia, Cilicia, and so on. This perception is the result of the fact that for the Armenians the concept of nation is much broader than state.


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