European Armenia’s Demand Genocide Recognition Precondition for Turkey’s EU Membership

STRASBOURG, France–More than 261 associations and individuals throughout Europe, including the three traditional political parties and all Armenian religious denominations, lent their signatures to a letter, released Tuesday urging the European Parliament adopt a provision making the recognition of the Armenian Genocide a precondition for Turkey’s membership in the European Union. Socialist and Liberal parliament members, who were the proponents of the measure, at the last minute, bowing to Turkish pressures, reversed their support for a draft amendment, which was approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliement on September 4. The measure was scheduled for a vote by the complete body on Wednesday. Below is the text of the appeal: Dear Members of Parliament, We, European citizens, follow up with a sustained attention the Union enlargement process and especially the developmen’s relating to Turkey’s controversial candidature. We took note of the report on "Turkey’s progress towards accession" voted on Monday September 4 by the Committee on Foreign Affairs. We particularly noticed with delight that the European Parliament "reiterates its call on Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, as called for un the previous European Parliament resolutions of 15 December 2004 and 28 September 2005" and "considers such acknowledgment to be a precondition for European Union accession". We were also informed about threatening pressures exerted on you by Turkey and the disinformation campaign in order to remove this mention. As citizens of the Union, we are absolutely indignant that a foreign power with radically anti-European values can thus alter the sovereign appreciation formulated by our European representation on this issue. This is why we take the liberty of reminding you the following facts: 1. The call for the Armenian genocide acknowledgment as a precondition by the European Parliament does not constitute at all an additional requirement towards Turkey. This requirement was clearly formulated in almost the same wording, less than a year ago, in the resolution on "opening the negotiations with Turkey": "The European Parliament calls on Turkey to recognise the Armenian genocide; considers this recognition to be a prerequisite for accession to the European Union" (P6_TA(2005)0350, 28/09/2005); This formulation is in the political line of those written in the preceding resolutions of 18 June 1987 and 15 December 2004. To water down or to remove it would constitute an obvious sign given to Turkey that the European Parliament is on the point of denying its principles, 2. The fact that such a condition was not formally imposed to other Candidate States does not constitute an argument proving its non-admissibility. The application of other States even would not be taken into consideration. The acknowledgement of its crimes by the State who perpetrated it is an accession criteria, 3. the calls reiterated by the European Parliament concerning this issue allowed the beginning of timid debates in Turkey. Weakening these deman’s would constitute an objective support to nationalists who want to eliminate in Turkey some dissident voices on this matter and to keep Turkey away from our European standards, 4. Turkey, who claims to wish to debate on this question, still has not answered to the Armenian president proposal which consists in establishing an intergovernmental commission in order to examine how to solve all the problems between the two countries and to create diplomatic relations. On the other hand, Turkey continues to deploy its denialist strategy in terms of historians committees and opening of archives in order to extract the genocide question from the political context of its candidature for the Union, 5. The denial policy of Turkey is not only a permanent offence to our European values, it is also the mark of an ultranationalist and racial ideology which constitutes a concrete threat towards our societies and our children. Communities throughout Europe which are watching with anxiety the negotiating process with Turkey will be terribly disappointed seeing the EP retreat from the very laudable position established by its Foreign Affairs Committee on such a fundamental principle. We urge you to come forward with a proud vote upholding the Parliament’s commitment in this matter." Consequently, we urge you to maintain in plenary session the clear and adequate formulation of the paragraph 49 adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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