European Armenian Federation Appeals to Sarkozy

BRUSSELES–The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy appealed to French President Nikolas Sakozy, the new president of the European Union, on expectations and concers of European Armenian citizens.

In a letter sent earlier this month, the European Armenian Federation addressed the EU’s policies toward Turkey and the South Caucasus, as well as concerns related to genocide denial and racial hatred in EU member-States and within the applicant countries.

In discussing Turkish membership application to the EU, the letter addressed "the well-oiled accession process is moving forward without concrete steps by Turkey to enact reforms, as has been the will of the European people," which, the letter said, "signals leniency from European institutions toward severe shortcomings of this candidate country."

The European Federation called on Sarkozy to "express his opposition to Turkey’s membership by clearly stating conditions which must be fulfilled by the applicant country."

In the letter, the European Federation called the recognition of the Armenian Genocide a "moral, legal and political" obligation, which would signal Turkey’s willingness to part ways with its "aggressive state doctrine stemming from an ideology which disappeared in Europe at the end of World War II."

The Federation commended the ever-increasing integration of Armenia and its region within European structures and called on the French presidency to support programs such as the European Neighborhood Policy. The letter also called EU efforts for direct dialogue with South Caucasus nations a "good strategic choice for Europe."

Turning to domestic EU policies, the Federation urged Sarkozy to honor his 2007 presidential campaign pledge of fosetering "the emergence of a European consensus" on the pan European penalization of genocide denial, in the agenda of the then-to-be-adopted EU Framework-Decision fighting "against racism and xenophobia".

"At the time, we worked with the European Commission, Council and Parliament to promote the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in the final wording of this Framework Decision; Today, we have succeeded in doing so," said Hilda Tchoboian, chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

Referencing the draft law on penalizing Genocide denial, pending in the French Senate, the Federation urged Sarkozy to honor his pledge and create mechanisms for adoption of similar legislation in the other 26 EU member-states.

"In a nutshell, we ask the French Presidency to provide political and legal content to its ‘Protective Europe’ concept, in reinforcing prevention and penalization measures against the proliferation of genocide denial in Europe," concluded Tchoboian.

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