Editorial: How much are the Armenian rights worth?
What price tag can one put on a nation's dignity and the lives of its individuals? One may think that such a question is a rhetorical one and belongs to the philosophical world, but in fact this is highly true in Armenia's case:

- 1878: Great Britain, according to a secret treaty with the Ottoman Empire, pressures Tsar Russia to evacuate the occupied Armenian provinces in eastern Turkey before the promised reforms in the Berlin Treaty are implemented. As a token of gratitude for this service, Great Britain receives the island of Cyprus from Turkey.

- 1920: In exchange for cooperation with the young Bolshevik regime in Russia, the new Turkey, led by Kemal Atatürk, promises to act as an ally against the imperialists in the West. In return, Russia surrenders the Armenian provinces of Kars and Ardahan and a part of East Armenia to Turkey, Karabakh and Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan and withdraws all its previous demands regarding West Armenia and the issue of the newly implemented genocide.

- 2000: President Clinton's administration is reminded by the Pentagon about the importance of allied Turkey, its military contracts and the existing air bases in the country. Clinton threatens with his veto and forces the House of Representatives to withdraw its proposition to the Congress regarding an official recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Does the question still seem to be hypothetical or rhetorical? Hardly.

The Armenian Genocide, in contrast to some other similar crimes against human rights, has suffered heavily because of the economical interests. Everyone talks about it and all are agreed upon it having taking place. But is it actually worth recognising a 90 year old crime and risk losing tons of money and other financial contracts because of it? In 1920, during the peace negotiations after the First World War, a French diplomat, in reference to the Armenian Genocide, has allegedly said: "As long as the guilty parts of this crime escape justice, others will believe that this horrible crime pays off and these terrifying scenes will be repeated". His fears were to come true in less than 20 years, in Hitler's Europe.

Armenia's struggle for a recognition has met countless defeats during the past 90 years. Politicians and state officials have diligently preached about "solidarity", "human rights" and dignity". But when it comes down to it, they have failed completely as far as it regards the Armenian Genocide. Sweden is no exception. In 1999, the Foreign Committee of the Swedish Parliament, Riksdagen, approved a proposition about the Armenian Genocide, a proposition signed by all political parties in the parliament but one: the ruling Social Democrat party.

1,500,000 persons, 45% of the Armenian world population and 75% of West Armenia's population, lost their lives and the majority of the Armenians were subjected to a large scale ethnic cleansing. For the first time in 2,500 years, Armenians lived on less than 85% of their native land. The ethnic cleansing had succeeded in a splendid manner. Cities such as Moush, Bitlis and Van, the cradle of the Armenian nation for the past 2,800 years, are ironically no longer a part of the existing republic of Armenia.

Now, in 2005, this is a burning issue more than ever. Armenia remembers the memory of the victims of this genocide, while Turkey is standing on the threshold of EU, knocking on its gate. Turkey still categorically denies all charges regarding a genocide and continues its blockade against Armenia, and only promises to lift it if Armenia, among others, renounce its claim for a recognition. Within the EU, however, the authorities have made it clear that the Armenian Question, in contrast to the Cyprus issue, is not a term for starting membership negotiations, but a term for Turkey to fulfil before the country becomes a full member.

One can only wonder how long it will take before this forgotten genocide gains a hearing, but this quote from a manifest over a hundred years ago makes one to reflect upon the fact whether the Armenian Genocide belongs in the history books or not: "The solution of the Armenian Question is not only connected to the decency of Europe, but also to its security and interests." The quote is made during a manifest in 1896, shortly after the first massacres of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, which can be regarded as the prologue to the future genocide.

In 90 years Turkey has successfully managed to buy its neighbour's dignity and a nation's rights, regardless it has been in form of an island, empty promises about reforms or military and financial contracts. One wonders how much the price tag will end up this time?