Six speakers of Australia’s Parliament approved earlier in the week the nation’s first-ever motion for the government to officially acknowledge the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides.
The motion’s success with the Australian Parliament’s House of Representatives is due to the Joint Justice Initiative, a movement launched in February 2020 in order to get the motion passed.
“The House of Representatives has spoken. The Australian Parliament’s largest and most representative legislative chamber has unanimously called on Australia’s Government to recognize the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides,” Hai Kayserian, the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, said in response to the news.
“This unanimous outcome rejects Turkish interference in Australian foreign policy and calls on our country’s Prime Minister and his Government to stand with the representatives elected by their constituents and call a genocide a genocide.”
The Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides
An organized plan to eliminate the indigenous Greek population of Asia Minor, it included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, expulsions, executions, and the wholesale destruction of Eastern Orthodox cultural, historical, and religious monuments.
The Turks feared that the Greek-speaking Christian population would welcome liberation by the Ottoman Empire’s enemies.
At the same time, the nationalist Turks believed in the creation of a modern nation without strong, influential ethnic and religious minorities; this was one of the main factors that led to the Greek genocide.
At the outbreak of World War I, there were many minorities that had been living in Asia Minor long before the creation of the Ottoman Empire, including Greeks, Pontic Greeks, Caucasus Greeks, Cappadocian Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians, Jews, and others.
The Ottoman Empire was in rapid decline, headed by the Committee of Union and Progress (“CUP”). The CUP were, among other things, proponents of Turkish nationalism.
When the Ottomans joined the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1914, the stage was set for the first genocide of the twentieth century.
Using Christian rebels colluding with the Russian Army as a pretext, the Ottoman government announced a policy of property confiscation and deportations against the Christian minorities of the empire — first among them being the Armenians.
The extermination of the Armenian population in 1915 was the first atrocity paving the way for the Greek genocide that culminated in 1923, after the Burning of Smyrna.
Most historians date the final decision to exterminate the Armenian population to the end of March or early April in 1915.
Turkish Minister of War Enver Pasha took over command of the Ottoman armies for the invasion of Russian territory and tried to encircle the Russian Caucasus Army at the Battle of Sarikamish, which took place from December 1914 to January 1915.