Coalition Urges EU to Suspend Education Aid to Turkey

BRUSSELS–In a letter to senior European Union (EU) officials–the European Coalition Against the Policy of Denial in Turkish Schools has urged the EU to not only condemn the recent Turkish Ministry campaign mandating the instruction of the denial of the Armenian Genocide as a part of Turkey’s national curriculum–but to also suspend education assistance to Turkey–reported the European Armenian Federation (formerly known as ANC Europe).

The Coalition is formed by 160 international organizations and associations from Belgium–France–Germany–Greece–Italy–Netherlands–Switzerland and United Kingdom–and includes a number of well-known scholars in the fields of international law–education and politics.

The letter requesting a meeting with EU officials is addressed to current EU President Silvio Berlusconi–to High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana–to President of the European Commission Gnter Verheugen–to President of the European Parliament Pat Cox and to the EU commissioner responsible for enlargement.

The letter informs the EU of the directive published by the Turkish Ministry of Education requiring headmasters and teachers to organize conferences and "testimonies" on "fighting against the allegations of genocide," and of the severe punishment reserved for Turkish teachers who ask for clarification about directive. It also urges the EU "to raise this matter in forthcoming meetings about or with Turkey."

The Coalition also asks for the reaffirmation of European Parliament’s 1987 resolution "On a political solution to the Armenian question." Finally–it calls for the suspension of European financial aid–amounting to hundreds of millions of euros annually–to the Turkish education system as long as this directive is in effect.

"We call on the officials of the three EU authorities-the Parliament–the Commission and the Council-to take seriously the consequences of the Turkish government’s education directive. European aid must not finance the Turkish education system as long as it disseminates in its schools values that oppose the principles upheld by Europe–just as we would not finance teaching the denial of the Jewish genocide or justification of apartheid in South Africa," said the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation Hilda Tchoboian.

The Coalition attached to its letter the "Statement against policy of genocide denial in Turkish schools." The statement text and list of 170 signatories are available on the website of the European Armenian Federation: www.eafjd.org.

The European Coalition against the Policy of Denial in Turkish Schools is a structure open to all European organizations and institutions that advocate positive intervention by European authorities against Turkey’s policy of denial.

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