Portrait of  Zeev Elkin 

Image: Knesset member Zeev Elkin sounds positive that Israel will recognize the Armenian Genocide one day but given Turkey’s angry response and Armenia’s lack of reaction he is not so sure the move will take place this year

It sounds natural for the state of Israel to recognize genocides committed against others, but a move by a Jewish parliamentarian to do so for the Armenian Genocide is in jeopardy amid heavy Turkish lobby.

According to Haaretz, a Turkish delegation has asked Israel’s government to cancel a discussion on the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset, Israel’s legislature.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Turkish parliament, Hasan Murat Mercan, has asked the Prime Minister’s Bureau to cancel a scheduled discussion in the Knesset on the Armenian genocide.Mercan was in Israel this week at the head of a Turkish parliamentary delegation for talks with their Israeli counterparts.

Talks included discussions on Iran, the Palestinians and Syria, but the main issue the Turkish delegation raised was an upcoming Knesset debate on the Armenian genocide.

“The Armenian issue is very sensitive for Turkey,” the visitors told Yoram Turbowicz and Shalom Turgeman, two of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s most senior aides, adding that, “We would prefer if this discussion would not take place at this time in the Israeli parliament because it may harm the relations between the two countries.”


It is not just the heavy Turkish lobbying that may kill the move, Knesset member Zeev Elkin has told The Armenian Reporter, but also the lack of Armenian reaction. 

[…] I have to note that there has not been any intense attention from the Armenian side – either from the diaspora or the government – to this issue. And this does not make things easier for me.  e fact that both Turkey and Azerbaijan are intensively lobbying the Knesset, and there is no similar effort from the Armenian side, makes the challenge we have even more difficult.


To the question of what Armenians can do, Mr. Elkin says:

Well starting just with communication by supporters of this issue with members of the Knesset – all member e-mails are available on the web site www. knesset.gov.il, as are phone numbers. All parliament members pay attention to the public, even if that public is not part of their electorate.


Whether letters by Armenians will help is a question wide open but many are convinced Israel will recognize the Armenian Genocide sooner or later. “Turkey will eventually have to resign itself to the fact that the parliament of Israel, like parliaments of other countries before it, will take a position on this issue,” says Elkin.