The frontman of Grammy award-winning rock band System of a Down is calling on New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters to recognize the Armenian Genocide in WW1.
“It’s important for people to be aware about the genocide – the first genocide of the 2nd century,” Serj Tankian told Newshub.
“The United States just recognized it, most – or a lot of countries – have recognized it, including France, Italy, the European Union, the Vatican, [and] Russia,” Tankian says.
Asked whether he would like Peters to use the word ‘genocide,’ Tankian said: “I would.”
“There are dances around the word genocide because Turkey does not want nations to use that word,” Tankian says.
He will be speaking at an event in Parliament on Thursday evening where politicians from across the House of Representatives were invited.
Newshub has been leaked a memo sent to MPs by Peters’ office which says: “In deciding whether to take up the invitation, please note the New Zealand Government’s position on this sensitive issue, which is to encourage Turkey and Armenia, as the parties directly concerned, to discuss the issue.”
Tankian views that as a threat to MPs not to attend.
“Even the Republican Party of the United States hasn’t gone that far,” he says. “That’s interesting. I think that’s a shame… it’s disappointing.”
Meanwhile, Peters has denied having told MPs not to go to the event. “That’s your allegation. Of course I didn’t,” he told Newshub.