RIGA, Latvia (Rupen Janbazian / ARMENIAN WEEKLY)—On May 30, Young European Socialists (YES) adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, condemning Turkey’s denial of the crime, and calling on Turkey to begin a process of reparations for the genocide.
The motion was introduced by representatives of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and France’s Young Socialists Movement (MJS) at the YES bureau meeting, which took place May 29-30 in Riga. The meeting was attended by representatives of all full-member organizations, including Aren Kerteshian (France) on behalf of the AYF.
Representatives of the youth wing of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) strongly objected the resolution and proposed fundamental changes to the wording of the motion. The proposed changes included replacing the word “genocide” with “massacre”; removing condemnation of Turkey’s policy of genocide denial; and adding a paragraph that calls on Armenia to open its archives and for Armenia and Turkey to hold an intergovernmental commission to study their history.
Representatives of the German Socialist-Democratic Party Youth (JUSOS) and the French Young Socialists Movement (MJS) spoke out against the proposed changes and suggested that any alterations to the wording would undermine the true history of the Armenian Genocide.
Kerteshian during the meeting expressed regret that the CHP Youth representatives repeated the position of the Turkish government, rather than bravely calling the genocide by its real name.
All delegates, with the exception of the representatives from Turkey, voted for the passage of the resolution.
The passage of the resolution was welcomed by the ARF Bureau Youth office. Speaking to the Armenian Weekly, ARF Youth Office Director Sarkis Mkrtchian said that the adopted resolution was the result of the hard work and dedication by the AYF and ARF Youth office.
“Only about three weeks following the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution by IUSY [International Union of Socialist Youth] comes the adoption of this very important resolution, which calls for justice for the genocide. We commend YES for passing such a resolution, since it sends a strong message to Turkey that not only recognition, but reparations and real justice, are necessary,” said Mkrtchian.
Formerly known as the European Community Organisation of Socialist Youth (ECOSY), YES is the umbrella organization for socialist and social democratic youth in Europe—gathering socialist and social democratic youth movements of the European Union, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean countries. It was founded in November 1992 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Currently YES unites 63 youth organizations from 47 countries to advocate for socialist and social democratic values in the European institutions, as well as to facilitate the exchange of ideas between members.
The text of the passed resolution follows, in full.
Resolution on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
Resolution proposed by the AYF Armenia and MJS France
Impunity legitimizes violence and encourages future crimes. Our world faces constant dehumanization of the human nature, constant threat to human life, manmade catastrophes and atrocities of various types. The world is often silent on this, justifying its silence by the inutility of any attempt to change anything. We, the Young European Socialists, view silence as a form of negative contribution with regard to crimes against humanity. We believe that crimes such as the Armenian Genocide should never be forgotten and must always stay current as a reminder to all of us that we, humans, are capable of committing the most inhuman acts. The Armenian Genocide must serve [as] an example of what a world must try to avoid by all means. During 1915-1923, more than 1,500,000 Armenians were brutally massacred in their ancestral lands [in] what is largely known as Eastern Turkey today. More than 300,000 women and young girls were forced to convert and change their identity. Hundreds of thousands of children were kidnapped. The small number of Armenians who survived were spread all over the world. An ancient civilization was destroyed, its property stolen and confiscated, its heritage destroyed. Anti-Armenian sentiments are not over even today in the modern Republic of Turkey. The destruction of the Armenian cultural and religious heritage in Turkey is still in process.
YES believes genocide is the ultimate crime committed against humanity and should be punished regardless of when it happened.
With regard to the abovementioned, YES is hence coming with a resolution on the Armenian Genocide as the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first genocide of the 20th century.
– YES stands in solidarity with the Armenian nation as the Armenian people worldwide commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide committed by various regimes in Turkey from 1915-1923.
– YES strongly condemns the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government, as denial is the ultimate stage of the crime of genocide.
– YES supports the Armenian people’s struggle for the recognition and reparation of the Armenian Genocide and encourages Turkey to start an immediate process of eliminating the consequences of the Armenian Genocide and initiate a process of restoration of the rights of the Armenian people. The latter will bring positive changes both to the Republic of Turkey and its people [and] will contribute to the democratization of the country and its society. The just resolution of the Armenian Genocide is the only reliable path to reconciliation of the two countries and nations.
– YES welcomes all initiatives by member organizations aimed at educating people on the Armenian Genocide and spreading its knowledge, since we cannot change the future if we do not know the past, and changing the future is a core belief of any true struggle for democracy and socialist values.
– YES will actively work for a recognition of the Armenian Genocide within PES and demand that S&D Group works for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the European Parliament.