07/27/2016, 17.03
EGYPT – TURKEY
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Motion goes before Egyptian parliament to recognise the Armenian genocide

by Pierre Balanian

Parliamentarians call on the UN and the international community to have every country recognise this as a crime against humanity. Turkey is accused of being "colonialist at its base, founded on gigantic crimes". Egypt had documents showing the Ottoman Empire's intention to eliminate the Armenians, but they were torched in Alexandria on Erdogan’s direct orders.

Cairo (AsiaNews) – As the post-coup gap grows wider between Turkey and the United States and Saudi Arabia, repercussions are starting to be felt across the region.

Yesterday, a motion was tabled in the Egyptian Parliament calling on the government to recognise officially the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks in the years 1915-1923.

The proposal calls on the United Nations and the international community to take the necessary steps to gain recognition from all countries for this crime against humanity, deliberately ignored for far too long, and acknowledge the undeniable historical truth.

MP Mostafa Bakri presented the motion to recognise the Armenian genocide, backed by Mohamad Salah Abou Hamila, head of the Republican People's Party parliamentary caucus who said that "Turkey is a country that is colonialist at its base, founded on gigantic crimes committed against other countries."

The genocide move comes seven days after Turkey launched an anti-Egyptian campaign. For lawmaker Salah Abou Hamila, "Turkey has adopted an anti-Egyptian policy and is opposed to the Egyptian state. The (Turkish) President is constantly attacking Egypt and trying to denigrate it. The Egyptian Parliament has to react against everything that Turkey does against us."

Such an anti-Turkish position is boosted by the fact that the Turkish president continues to harbour and support the Muslim Brotherhood, who were ousted from power in Egypt with the downfall of Mohamed Morsi.

The recognition of the Armenian genocide thus appears to be more politically motivated than stemming from a deep sense of conscience and moral responsibility as was the case in Germany.

Until recently, Egypt held important archival material documenting the Ottoman Empire’s plans to eliminate the Armenians. During the Egyptian Spring, these rare documents were torched in Alexandria, on the direct orders of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The imam who was paid and instructed to do so confessed to this.

Armenians around the world have waited a long time for Muslim nations to recognise the genocide of Christians in Muslim lands. Egypt’s move could rekindle the conscience of some and raise awareness about the issue in order to prevent similar attempts against other minorities.

So far, Lebanon (a country that can hardly be called Islamic) and Syria (an Arab country, but rather secular) were the only Arab countries to recognise, without political overtones, the genocide by launching awareness campaigns to ensure that these crimes are not repeated.

Lawmaker Fayez Barakat said that "the signatures (of 336 Egyptian lawmakers) collected for the recognition of the Armenian genocide are an attempt to react to abuses by Turkish authorities against the Egyptian state and its repeated attempts to interfere in our internal affairs. At the same time, they are a message to Recep Tayyip Erdogan that we too can strike at those who try to interfere in our internal affairs."

"The recognition of the Armenian genocide by Egypt,” he added, “would have major repercussions on Turkey's position in the world."

For her part, lawmaker Suzy Nashed focused on the issue’s legal-moral context, defining what "the Turks did against the Armenians a crime of international concern. Even if it was committed in the past, it remains relevant today since Turkey continues to deny it. Hence, the importance of Egypt’s recognition."

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