Expatica news

Vande Lanotte won’t use “genocide”

6 June 2007

BRUSSELS – Socialist party SP.A chairman Johan Vande Lanotte is taking the same line as Flemish minister president Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian Democrats CD&V) in his doubts about the Armenian genocide.

Vande Lanotte has dubbed the mass killings of Armenians an “extremely sensitive point” but refuses to recognise it as “genocide.”

American political scientist Rudolph J. Rummel has calculated that about 1.8 million Armenians were killed between 1900 and 1924. The denial of the mass murder even became a criminal offence in France recently.

International experts and politicians have responded with outrage to the statements from Leterme and Vande Lanotte. Rumour has it that the candidates for prime minister are sowing doubt about the Armenian genocide in order to sweet talk the Belgian Turks.

“There is no historian who has any doubts about the Armenian genocide anymore,” says Université Libre de Bruxelles professor and genocide expert Joël Kotek.  “Just as is there is no discussion about the Holocaust or the genocide in Rwanda. You cannot trifle with the dead and with history. We are talking here about a historical truth that is now being completely politicised in order to win votes. Leterme’s position is simply unacceptable. Really sad. At this moment we should be in fact helping the Turks to accept their past.”

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news