PanARMENIAN.Net – In a moving ceremony that took place on June 19 at the Chapel of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtniskirche, Bundestag Member Cem Ozdemir was awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Medal in recognition of his role in building bridges between Armenians and Turks and his pivotal contribution as a driving force behind the Bill passed by the Bundestag in June 2, 2016, which recognized the mass killings of Armenians from 1915, as a Genocide.
On 12 March 2015, Ozdemir visited the Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, Armenia and declared his formal recognition of the Genocide and called on Turkey to recognize it as well. “I think that Germany should obviously refer to the Armenian Genocide issue. As a friend of two countries, we should help to open the Armenian-Turkish border. As a friend of both countries, we should exert effort, so that the Armenian-Turkish relations become like the French-German or Polish-German relations.”, he stated.
In 2016 Ozdemir initiated a resolution in the Bundestag that would formally classify the 1915 massacres as genocide. The resolution passed on 2 June 2016 with what Speaker Norbert Lammert called a “remarkable majority.” At the time, Ozdemir emphasized that the resolution was not designed to point fingers at others but rather to acknowledge Germany’s partial responsibility for the genocide. In 1915, the German Empire was a close ally of the Ottoman Empire but decided not to condemn the violence nor to intervene in any other way.
Prior to the voting in the Bundestag Ozdemir stated: “There is never a good time to speak of something so inconceivably barbaric as genocide. After lengthy and laborious deliberations, we are voting today on a motion that speaks of genocide, clearly refers to German complicity and establishes that this complicity virtually binds Germany to work for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia and for rapprochement between the two countries.”
Thus, the Board of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation unanimously resolved to grant the award to the politician of Turkish extraction for the pivotal role he has played in the presentation of the Bundestag Genocide Bill. During the ceremony the NGO was represented by Pastor Annemarie Werner.
The IRWF is fully devoted to preserving and spreading around the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg and his likes, namely, women and men who reached-out to the victims of the Holocaust, as well as other tragic chapters of human history, regardless of the religion, race and nationality of rescuers and survivors alike.
One of the flagship programs of the IRWF is an ” in-depth research of the Muslim Turks and Kurds who reached-out to the Armenians from 1915 onwards. The same was carried-out in the field, under the strict academic supervision of Professor Taner Akcam, of Clarks University. The preliminary findings, which include the stories of over 180 rescuers, were published on the website as a free-download book, in Turkish, Armenian, English and Spanish.