US Takes ‘Terrible Tragedy’ Route

WASHINGTON–DC (Washington File)–The United States said last week that it acknowledges the "terrible tragedy" the Armenian community in Anatolia faced during World War I–but declined to comment on whether the European Union should make it a precondition for the start of accession talks with Turkey.

"Our position on the Armenia question is–I think–pretty well known?We’ve acknowledged the terrible tragedy that befell the Armenian community in Anatolia in the last years of the Ottoman Empire," State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher told a press briefing last week.

He said Washington had been encouraging civil society and diplomatic discussions about the tragedy–as well as political dialogue between Armenia and Turkey on the issue.

Boucher indicated the US position on the issue had remained unchanged since the president issued a traditional message on April 24–2003.

Asked whether the question of the Armenian genocide should or should not be a precondition for Turkey’s entry to the EU–he said that it was up to the Europeans to decide.

"We believe that Turkey has gone a long way in meeting the requiremen’s of membership and the requests that were asked of Turkey–and it will be for the Europeans to make that judgment themselves."

The European Parliament adopted a resolution last Wednesday calling on EU leaders to open entry talks with Turkey. It also urged Ankara to acknowledge the genocide but made it clear it would not be a condition for the start of accession talks.

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