EU Leaders Want Genocide Recognition as Precondition to Turkey’s Membership

BRUSSELS (Combined Sources)–Leading European Parliament political factions called for the introduction of the Armenian Genocide recognition issue into the agenda of the EU-Turkey talks. The parliamentarians urged Brussels to set the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey and lifting of the blockade of Armenia as a precondition for Turkey’s EU membership.

Finland–which accepted the EU presidency for the next six months–threatened to break off the talks with Turkey. "The dialogue with Turkey can be stopped at any moment if Ankara fails to meet commitmen’s to the European Union," Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said.

"We commend the initiative of the Members of the European Parliament whose amendmen’s are going to embed these important issues within the current negotiation process. We invite their colleagues from the Foreign Affairs Committee to follow suit in adopting these amendmen’s," stated Hilda Tchoboian–the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

"20 years ago–the European Parliament adopted a resolution on ‘a political solution to the Armenian question,’ which considered these issues as ‘insurmountable obstacles’ to Turkey’s membership in the Union. Today–20 years later–none of these issues has been resolved and the continuing negotiations within this framework have created a political anomaly that must end," added Tchoboian.

"We want the executive bodies of the Union to redeem themselves by listening to public opinion and place strong and non-negotiable deman’s on Turkey–notably the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Otherwise–each step forward in this process will be a retreat for Europe–" concluded Tchoboian.

Turkey doesn’t recognize the sovereignty of Cyprus–which joined the EU in May 2004 and doesn’t receive planes and ships from this state. The European Parliament committee on foreign affairs is scheduled to review Turkey’s progress during a session Wednesday. Aside from the two issues–Turkey is also being urged to settle the Kurdish issue and secure the rights of national minorities.

In October 2005–EU foreign ministers gave the go-ahead to Turkey’s EU membership talks. However–they specified that the process will not be automatic and can be stopped any time. european Parliament: turkey’s application under scrutiny.


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