Monday, April 21, 2008

Sweden was informed of extermination of Armenians in 1915 but preferred not to intervene

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ A recently conducted study at the Uppsala University has revealed highly interesting information in the Swedish Archives, which once again confirm the researchers’ view of the events in the Ottoman Turkey during the First World War: the Christian minorities, the Armenians in particular, were subjected to genocide, reports.

The survey conducted by Vahagn Avedian, Editor of and Master Degree Student at Uppsala University, covers the period between 1915 and 1923 and includes, among others, reports which the Swedish Ambassador, Cosswa Anckarsvard, and the Swedish Military Attaché, Einar af Wirsén, both stationed in Constantinople, sent to the Foreign Department (found in the National Archive) and the General Staff Headquarters (found in the War Archive) in Stockholm, respectively. In total, about eighty documents were found with direct relevance to the so-called Armenian Question, of which some are over-explicit in their message: the Turkish Government conducted a systematic extermination of the Armenian Nation.

On July 6, 1915, Ambassador Anckarsvard, writing to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Knut Wallenberg, concludes: “Mr. Minister, The persecutions of the Armenians have reached hair-raising proportions and all points to the fact that the Young Turks want to seize the opportunity, since due to different reasons there are no effective external pressure to be feared, to once and for all put an end to the Armenian question. The means for this are quite simple and consist of the extermination [utrotandet] of the Armenian nation.”

Major Wirsén’s reports to the General Staff concur with Anckarsvard’s analysis. In 1942 Wirsén published his memoirs, entitled “Memories from Peace and War”, reflecting upon his time as Swedish Military Attaché in the Balkans and Turkey. In a chapter entitled “The Murder of a Nation”, Wirsén renders his observations of the Armenian massacres: “Officially, these [deportations] had the goal to move the entire Armenian population to the steppe regions of Northern Mesopotamia and Syria, but in reality they aimed to exterminate [utrota] the Armenians, whereby the pure Turkish element in Asia Minor would achieve a dominating position.”

The mentioned quotations are a fraction of the information presented in the study. In addition to the mentioned archives of the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff, the reports from the Swedish missionaries and the Swedish newspapers were also included in the study and concur with the same view.

Presently, Sweden, as all other states, chose to secure its national interests rather than standing out from the rest by advocating Armenia’s right and the question of punishing the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. The present-day Swedish Government does not seem to be willing to become involved in the question either. Just last fall, the Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, during an interpellation in the Swedish Parliament, refrained from officially recognizing the 1915 genocide, partly by referring to “the need of additional research about what really transpired in the Ottoman Empire.”

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