Political parties represented in the Dutch Parliament – the Christian Union (ChristenUnie), Socialist Party (SP), Reformed Political Party (SGP) and the Party for Freedom (PVV) – sent written questions regarding the Armenian Genocide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal.
In a response letter to parliamentarians Rosenthal told about “horrific events that took place in 1915,” as well as the need “for Turkey and Armenia to start a dialogue on this issue.” However, he avoided using the term “genocide” in his letter, Nouvelles d’Arménie reports.
For many years, both Dutch politicians and the media use the term “genocide.” The term was also used by previous foreign ministers, including the current deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen during a parliamentary debate. It seems that the new Dutch government has changed its position under Turkey’s pressure.
The Dutch MPs asked Rosenthal whether, in his opinion the “events” can be characterized as “genocide”, as defined in the Convention on the prevention of genocide. They also asked him why the term is not used in his letter.
The parties recalled that the Parliament of the Netherlands unanimously adopted a recommendation for the Government to include the Genocide recognition issue in the agenda of talks on possible Turkey’s joining the EU. The parties asked Minister Rosenthal whether policy has undergone certain changes.
MPs finally asked whether the Minister wants to study the possibility of building a memorial to victims of the Armenian Genocide outside The Hague.
Minister Rosenthal answered the government does not support the idea of building a monument near the building of the International Criminal Court.
The Federation of Armenian Organizations in the Netherlands (FAON) welcomed the critical reaction of the Dutch Parliament, but was very disappointed with the position of Minister Rosenthal.