EU Reaffirms Support for Turkish Recognition of Genocide

BRUSSLES–The European Parliament voted Thursday again for a measure urging Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide–adopting a report drafted by Per Gahrton (Green–Sweden) on European Union South Caucasus relations–reported the Armenian National Committee of Europe (CDCA Europe).

In adopting the Per Garhton Report–the European Parliament–meeting in plenary session–rejected an amendment offered by the ELDR Group (European Liberal/Democrat/Reform Party) and a handful of independent members. The amendment–which was decisively defeated by a vote of 391 to 96 and 15 abstentions–would have removed all references in paragraph 15 of the Gahrton Report to the 1987 EP resolution on the Armenian Genocide. In its place–the amendment would have included language that urged Turkey and Armenia to reconcile their "historical differences" and work toward improve their cultural–economic and diplomatic ties.

Numerous statemen’s favorable to the adoption of the original paragraph 15–occurred during the debate. Particularly–Gahrton emphasized that "History should not be rewritten" and that "after the First World War–the guilt of the perpetrators was unquestionably proven." Christos Zacharakis (People’s Party of Europe–Greece) and Demetrio Volcic (European Socialist Party–Italy) underlined that their respective political group would adopt the unchanged paragraph. Dominique Souchet (Independent–France) made a speech that attracted considerable attention–declaring that he "doesn’t understand the Turkish attitude" and that "the blockade of Armenia has to be removed without any preliminary condition."

Facing strong opposition–the supporters of the ELDR amendment sought to win passage of for their amendment–but in the end this effort was rejected even by the group’s own supporters.

"We welcome the adoption this important provision concerning the Armenian Genocide in the Gahrton Report form"–said Laurent Leylekian–Executive Director of the ANC-Europe. "We believe it is a fair and equitable provision that will advance EU relations with the Caucasus republics as well as with neighboring states."

"We are gratified that our representatives in the European Parliament have reiterated their principled support for Turkey’s acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide. As the adoption of this report illustrates–deceptive and manipulative undertakings–such as the recently disbanded Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission–cannot be a substitute for a concrete steps on the part of Turkey to come to terms with this chapter in its history."

Meanwhile in Turkey–lawmakers on Thursday attacked the European Parliament for the resolution.

The European Parliament resolution on the future of the relationship between the EU and Armenia–Azerbaijan and Georgia had a one-sentence reference to a 1987 European Parliament resolution which asked for recognition of the Armenian "genocide."

A joint statement issued by all six parties in the Turkish parliament said they had noted the European decision "supporting false Armenian claims with sorrow."

"If this ugly attack is an attempt to push Turkey to abandon the determination to become a full European Union member that Turkey has pursued with sacrifice and self-denial–we state that it is misguided and will fail," they said.

"History cannot be arbitrarily manipulated."

Turkey says both sides suffered losses during fighting in what is now eastern Turkey as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

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