What would happen if the world recognised the Armenian genocide? Would Turkish government be obliged to return territory or pay reparations to the Armenians, I am really not sure. Any thoughts?

  • 2
    Do the majority of countries not currently recognize the Armenian genocide?
    – Publius
    Feb 4, 2015 at 7:21
  • @Avi Not really, because countries aren't typically in the business of recognizing (or not recognizing) genocides. See Wikipedia for details.
    – Relaxed
    Feb 4, 2015 at 12:04
  • 1
    Ah, well there's your problem. How is Turkey ever going to feel the pressure until Burkina Faso has weighed in?
    – Publius
    Feb 4, 2015 at 14:38
  • @Avi - not formally, no. Nobody wants to tick off the Ottomans... err... Turks. Especially nowadays.
    – user4012
    Feb 4, 2015 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


Nothing really. It might sound glib but that's really how international law works. “Recognizing” a genocide might seem important on a symbolical level but it has no legal consequences, certainly not on international matters like territory (what a can of worms!) or reparations.

What recognizing a genocide entails is not obvious either. A parliament can vote a law with a statement of fact but that's a somewhat peculiar idea and it has been criticized precisely because it has no legal effect. Parliaments do not usually spend their time voting to formally state that this or that is true.

The only way the Turkish government could be brought to do anything are the usual diplomatic/political means: complaining officially, summoning an ambassador, threatening to reduce support or exchange in various domains, declining to enter new agreements, breaking diplomatic ties, enacting sanctions, etc.

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