ANC Australia Reacts to Erdogan’s Visit to Australia

SYDNEY–The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) has called on Australian Prime Minister John Howard to urge Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan to desist from the Turkish Government’s morally bankrupt policy of denial of the Armenian genocide. Erdogan was due to arrive in Australia on December 8.

In a letter to Howard–the ANC said that they support closer trade and cultural ties between Australia and Turkey–but are firmly opposed to Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide and blockade of Armenia.

"We welcome all efforts to improve cultural–educational–and mutually beneficial trade ties between Australia and other countries such as Turkey. Nevertheless–we firmly believe that the development and improvement of relations between Australia and Turkey must not be at the expense of such critical issues of importance as human rights," said Dr. Tro Kortian–President of the ANC Australia.

"The forthcoming official visit should not discourage Australia from firmly adding its voice against such genocide denial and the persecution of those courageous writers–academics and other citizens in Turkey (including the internationally renowned Turkish writer Orhan Parmuk) who are calling for real democracy in their country and an open and honest re-assessment of their history–including the dark chapter of the Armenian genocide."

Kortian went on to say: "We respectfully call on you unequivocally to convey to the Prime Minister of Turkey that it desist from its futile policy of denial of the Armenian genocide and that it immediately lift is illegal blockade of the Republic of Armenia."

Turkey recently began its long path of negotiation for possible membership in the European Union. The European Parliament reiterated–however–its long-held position by passing a resolution in September 2005–calling on Turkey to "recognize the Armenian genocide" saying that it "considers this recognition to be a prerequisite for accession to the European Union."

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