By Andy Turpin
WATERTOWN, Mass. — On March 5, the US House of Representa-tives Committee on Foreign Affairs adopted H. Res. 252 recognizing the genocide of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire despite intervention by both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Turkish government withdrew its ambassador to the US following the vote in protest of the decision.
On March 11 the parliament of Sweden also passed a resolution acknowledging the Armenian Genocide beginning in 1915 after which the government of Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also cancelled his scheduled visit to Stockholm next week for a Sweden-Turkey summit in protest of the parliament’s resolution.
In state and local government, Massachusetts state Rep. Jonathan Hecht (29th Middlesex District), a longtime ally of the Armenian community and supporter of Genocide recognition by the US, issued a statement regarding the recent activity surrounding the Genocide recognition bill.
“Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a matter of basic justice for the victims and the Armenian people. History also shows that recognizing and condemning genocide is essential to preventing future genocides. Nearly a century after those terrible events, it is long past time for governments and people everywhere to speak the truth about the Armenian Genocide,” he said.
State Rep. Peter Koutoujian (D-MA) blasted the Swedish government’s official condemnation of its own parliament’s recognition of the Genocide. “I find it offensive that a government would apologize for an action taken by its parliament. You’ve got an elected body of public officials taking a stand and you’ve got the government giving an apology,” he said. “There’s nothing I despise more than apologists for the perpetrators of genocide.”