Spanish parliament refuses bill over 1915 Armenian events

Spanish parliament rejects bill over Armenian claims regarding 1915 incidents and says cannot judge past events as historians and courts do

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Spain’s upper parliament on Wednesday refused to discuss a proposal that suggested to recognise Armenian claims over the 1915 events as “genocide.”

The Spanish Senate has dismissed the bill proposed by a political group active in the Catalonian region, called Entesa, with 138 votes used against the proposal whereas 14 in favour and together with 68 abstentions.

A member of parliament from the ruling People’s Party Jose Maria Chiquillo said the parliament cannot act as historians or courts do which could only examine and decide on past events on the basis of concrete information and documents.

“We as the parliament cannot put ourselves in the position of historians or a court,” said Chiquillo during the voting session in the parliament. “Genocide is not a simple word, it is a historical and legal issue,” he added.

Spain’s incumbent People’s Party led-by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was the only national party that opposed the bill while the opposition parties most notably Socialist Workers’ Party remained abstained towards the proposal in the parliament.

Turkish envoy to Spain, the Madrid ambassador Omer Onhon on Wednesday praised Spanish parliament’s avoidance of damaging the relations with its balanced attitude and said it was important to adopt an “unbiased approach” to the issue.

“I hope this sets an example for other the European Union states to follow,” the Turkish ambassador said.

Last week, Sweden also announced that it will establish a commission to investigate the 1915 Armenian events and define its Armenian policy in accordance with the results obtained through such commission that consists of historians, political scientists and legal experts on the issue.  

The EU parliament had adopted a resolution in April which termed the 1915 Armenian incidents as “genocide” whereas the EU Commission called the mass deportation of Armenians in 1915 as a “tragedy.”

Ankara opposes all arguments put forward by third parties which attempt to define the 1915 events as “genocide” in their parliaments since the Turkish administration believes it does not contribute to the normalisation of the relations between Turkey and Armenia.

Instead, Turkey believes that only an international commission constituted by historians of the late Ottoman era would be able to decide what actually happened during the mass deportation of Ottoman Armenians who allied with Russia in the eastern front in 1915.

For this purpose, Turkey made over one million documents accessible online and call for the other parties to open their archives to historians to study the issue.

Ankara also announced in April that it would make its military archives accessible for the sake of understanding the issue properly.

TRTWorld and agencies