EU Foreign Affairs Committee Draft Resolution ‘Contestable’

BRUSSELS–On November 30–the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) of the European Parliament adopted the draft resolution "on the 2004 regular report and the recommendation of the European Commission on Turkey’s progress towards accession," which was prepared by Christian-Democrat Dutchman Camiel Eurlings–by a vote of 50 to 18 (6 abstentions).

The text was issued after the Commission’s vote calling for the immediate repeal of article 305 of the new Turkish penal code. The article criminalizes opinions considered to jeopardize the "fundamental interests" of Turkey–among which are the affirmation of the Armenian genocide and the denunciation of the military occupation of Cyprus.

The draft also calls on the Turkish government to consider the registering in UNESCO’s word heritage list–monumen’s of cultural minorities–including Hasankeyf–Ani–Zeugma–and Aghtamar.

Without using the term "genocide," two adopted amendmen’s refer to the Armenian genocide: one refers to the responsibility of both the Turkish and Armenian governmen’s to seek reconciliation–and requires that Turkish authorities to reopen its border with Armenia.

The second one–tabled by the French socialist Michel Rocard–hails the reopening of a so-called "Armenian National Mausoleum in Northern Anatolia," the lifting of a ban on the use of minority language including Armenian–the remarkable work carried out by Turkish historians on the genocide–and the re-establishment of state relations between Armenia and Turkey.

The European Armenian Federation notes that amendmen’s are contestable–and were adopted only after a tight vote between equally influential political forces.

"The Committee was split into two–and the amendmen’s were approved with a very weak majority," declared Laurent Leylekian–the Executive Director of the Federation.

The Federation reveals that a small number of parliamentarians are attempting to speak on behalf of certain political groups as a whole.

It stresses that the many points in amendmen’s are simply elusive concepts–citing allusion to an Armenian Mausoleum in Northern Anatolia–alleged state relations between Turkey and Armenia–along with the "remarkable work" of Turkish historians on the genocide–and denounces the complicity of "State historians," in purging the Turkish national archives that deal with the genocide period."

The Federation also emphasizes that the vote by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee goes directly against the position of the European Parliament.

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