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June 25, 2018 1:12 pm

After Erdogan Victory in Turkish Election, Israel’s Knesset Set to Vote on Armenian Genocide Recognition

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The Israeli Knesset building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Israeli Knesset is set to consider whether to recognize the Armenian Genocide, following the victory of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the latest Turkish elections.

The possibility of such a vote by the full Knesset has arisen several times in the past, but never came to fruition out of fear of Turkey’s reaction. Turkey vehemently rejects the claim that the deaths of over a million Armenians in the early 20th century at the hands of the Ottoman Empire constituted an act of genocide.

In the past, to preserve its relations with Turkey, Israel has repeatedly declined to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, though Israeli officials have used softer language to refer to it as an act of mass murder.

The last push for the Knesset to recognize the genocide was torpedoed by government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over concern it would help Erdogan, who has been a ferocious critic of Israel and uses the issue to whip up support among Turkish voters.

With Erdogan’s decisive victory on Sunday, this obstacle appears to have been removed.

The Hebrew news site Walla reported that the matter would shortly be considered by the Prime Minister’s Office. The Foreign Ministry stated, “Our position will be expressed before the Knesset and not the media.”

Meretz leadr Tamar Zindberg, who introduced the recognition bill, expressed optimism that the bill would pass. “We expect support from all factions of the house and especially those who pledged their support,” she said.

“More than fifty MKs signed a similar declaration,” she added, “and this is the time to change words to actions. We are talking about the recognition by the Knesset of historical and moral justice.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also voiced support for recognition, saying it was “the right thing to do as human beings and as Jews. There is no connection between doing justice and the political situation and the Turkish leadership.”

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