The Swedish vote describing the killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide has been welcomed in Yerevan. Armenia says up to one and a half million of its countrymen died when they were deported – either from starvation and disease or killed by Ottoman troops.
“Recognition of genocide and crimes against humanity is very important, not only for Armenians but for mankind,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan.
Armenians have campaigned for the killings to be recognised internationally as genocide. Some 20 countries have done so – others hope more will follow suit.
“The Americans recognised that slavery existed in the United States,” said economist Arthur Aghazhanyan, “the Germans have recognised the Jewish holocaust on European territory. In the same way the Turkish government should recognise the actions taken by their former rulers that were not committed by themselves.”
The 1915 killings continue to poison Turkish-Armenian relations. This is despite a historic accord the two countries signed last year, establishing diplomatic ties and reopening their shared border.