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December 20, 2016 / Congau

Armenian Genocide?

The German parliament has condemned Turkey for its action against Armenians. The condemnation was issued this year, but the events occurred a hundred years ago. The urgent question was: Did the Turks commit genocide? And the all-wise parliament was not in doubt: They did!

How they could be so sure, I don’t know, but obviously the Bundestag consists entirely of historians and legal experts. Even so, it is hardly the business of a national assembly to make statements about historical events. The representatives are usually more than busy running their country of today, so why was it suddenly necessary to turn their attention to the distant past? The statement caused a minor diplomatic crisis between Germany and Turkey. For what purpose?

No, it is not about history. It is of course all about Europe of today. Turkey has become an outcast and any measure can be used to emphasize that.

Was it genocide? It’s an irrelevant question. What happened to the Armenians in Turkey in 1915 was terrible. They were deported and many of them were killed in the process. What does it matter what you call it?

Whether or not something falls within a certain definition doesn’t add anything to its nature. Words are just words. Finding the right definition is important for authors of dictionaries, not members of parliaments.

Definitions may also be useful for legal purposes, but then the object is to decide on the measure of punishment for the accused. The culprits of hundred year old murders cannot be put on trial, so naming the alleged crime is hardly meaningful. But even if it was, that is an appropriate activity of a court, not a parliament.

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