ANCA Opposes Wexler Legislation on Turkey’s Accession to EU

WEXLER LEGISLATION IGNORES TURKEY’S BLOCKADE OF ARMENIA–GENOCIDE DENIAL–OCCUPATION OF CYPRUS–AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

WASHINGTON–DC–In letters drawing attention to Turkey’s abusive policies at home and its aggressive actions abroad–the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today called on members of Congress to oppose legislation recently introduced by the Chairman of the Congressional Turkish Caucus to support Turkey’s faltering bid to join the European Union.

"We are very disappointed by Representative Wexler’s introduction of legislation seeking Congressional support for Turkey’s increasingly controversial bid to join the European Union," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "The American people–through their elected Representatives–should not be asked to confer their approval upon a military-led government that abuses the human rights of its citizens–restricts the religious freedom of its Christian communities–denies the Armenian Genocide–illegally blockades Armenia–and continues to maintain a military occupation of Cyprus."

The legislation–authored by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL)–praises Turkey as among the "venerable" democracies of the Middle East. It also specifically cites July 14–2002 remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that "Turkey’s full integration into European institutions is in the best interests of the people of Turkey–the people of Europe–and of the United States." The "resolved clause" of the resolution calls on the United States to support Turkey’s membership and urges the European Union to "recognize Turkey’s comprehensive political and economic reforms and set a date for the initiation of accession negotiations at the meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen to be held on December 12-13–2002."

The Wexler Turkey-European Union resolution has been cosponsored by two other Representatives–Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY).

Below is the full text of the legislation:

RESOLUTION

"Supporting the efforts of the Republic of Turkey to join the European Union"

Whereas the United States has long supported the efforts of the Republic of Turkey to join the European Union;

Whereas the 1963 Ankara Agreement between Turkey and the European Union envisages the accession of Turkey to the European Union;

Whereas Turkey has been and continues to be a strategic North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally of Western Europe and the United States and a strong leader in the international campaign against terrorism in all its manifestations;

Whereas most European members of NATO also belong to the European Union and for several decades Turkey has been a full member of all major European institutions–including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)–the Council of Europe–and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);

Whereas Turkey is one of 13 candidate countries seeking membership in the European Union;

Whereas on August 3–2002–Turkey passed historic–broad-based reforms aimed at meeting the European Union’s political criteria for candidate countries (commonly referred to as the `EU Copenhagen political criteria’) and bringing Turkish democracy into conformance with the standards of other Western European democracies;

Whereas Turkey has made substantial progress toward full integration into the European Union–including by entering into a customs union with the EU effective January 1–1996–the only candidate country to have achieved such an arrangement with the EU; Whereas Turkey is the most venerable among the very few secular democracies in the Muslim world;

Whereas on June 25–2002–President George Bush stated that Republic of Turkey is a model for Muslims of a secular and democratic state;

Whereas Turkey has consistently and resolutely taken bold steps to develop its democracy in the shadow of neighbors who represent some of the most sinister and repressive dictatorships in the world and who have often supported anti-Turkish and international terrorism;

Whereas the territory of Turkey is geo-strategically crucial to Western interests and Turkey therefore must often risk its own security and economic stability for the sake of solidarity with the Western alliance; and

Whereas on July 14–2002–Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz stated that Turkey’s full integration into European institutions is in the best interests of the people of Turkey–the people of Europe–and of the United States:

Now–Therefore–be It Resolved–

That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that

(1) the United States should continue to support the efforts of the Republic of Turkey to join the European Union; and

(2) the European Union should recognize Turkey’s comprehensive political and economic reforms and set a date for the initiation of accession negotiations at the meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen to be held on December 12-13–2002.

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