Europarliament Deman’s Turkish Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

* ANC-Europe (CDCA-Europe) counters Turkish campaign to derail Genocide recognition amendment.

STRASBOURG (ARF Press Service–Reuters)– During its session Wednesday–the European Parliament voted 234 to 231 to call on Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide as a precondition for its membership in the European Union.

The Parliament’s action came during consideration of the "Report on Turkey’s Application for Accession to the European Union," a yearly review of Turkey’s progress in meeting the basic criteria for joining the European Union. Following general discussion about the Armenian Genocide amendment during its November 14 session–Europarliament members voted 234 to 213 Wednesday to adopt the measure–which:

"Invites the government of Turkey and the Grand Assembly of Turkey to increase its support for the Armenian minority–which represents an important part of Turkish society — particularly through public recognition of the genocide which the Armenian minority was subject to prior to the establishment of the modern Turkish state."

"The adoption of this amendment should make it clear to the Turkish government–military–and public that the denial of the Armenian Genocide must end if Turkey is to aspire toward membership in the European family of nations," said ANC of Europe representative Hilda Tchoboyan.

The Armenian National Committee of America has welcomed the European Parliament decision today to call on the Turkish Government to end its campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide.

"Armenian Americans welcome the European Parliament’s decision to call on Turkey to end its shameful campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "In taking this principled stand–the European Parliament has rejected Turkey’s threats of retaliation–reaffirming–once again–its 1987 resolution establishing Armenian Genocide recognition as a precondition for Turkey’s membership in the European Union."

The Armenian Genocide amendment was introduced by thirty-five members of the European Parliament from the Christian Democrat (PPE) and European Socialist Party (PSE) and ultimately gained support across all party lines. Europarliamentarians leading efforts to pass the legislation included Martine Roure–Marie-Arlette Carlotti and Harlen Desir from the European Socialist Party and Francois Bairou and George Dimitrakopoulos from the Christian Democrats. On November 13th–the European Socialist Party–during their plenary session–voted to support the amendment as a voting block.

Last month–during discussion of the report on Turkey’s accession to the European Union by the European Parliament Foreign Affairs committee–report author–General Morillon (PPE)–led efforts to stop the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide amendment in the report draft. His opposition to the resolution continued during

The well-financed campaign by the Turkish government to derail the amendment was countered by the efforts of the Armenian National Committee of the European Union (CDCA-Europe) to educate Members of Parliament and the European public about the Turkish government’s denials and the contemporary implications of this crime against humanity. The ANC-European Union’s success in rallying a broad-based coalition of Armenia’s from throughout the continent marks a milestone in the emergence of the European Armenian community as a powerful political force.

The European Parliament adopted an additional amendment–introduced by Daniel Cohn-Benditt (Green Party)–calling on the Turkish government to "start a dialogue with Armenia in an effort–particularly–to re-establish diplomatic and normal commercial relations between the two parties and lift the blockade currently in place." The amendment was adopted by voice vote. The Parliament also called on Turkey to remove it "occupying troops" from Cyprus.

“The European Parliament has no right to call on our government or parliament on this issue,” Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said in a written statement.

“This kind of irresponsible behavior is of the sort that will shake relations between Turkey and the European Union.”

The motion–passed by 234 to 213–does not oblige European Union member states to take any action. But that is unlikely to ease Turkish anger over a highly emotive issue.

“(The Turkish government should) give fresh support to the Armenian minority–as an important part of Turkish society–in particular by public recognition of the genocide that minority suffered before establishment of the modern state of Turkey,” the resolution said.

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