EU Set to Adopt Watered Down Report on Turkey

BRUSSELS–The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs is set to adopt on Monday an annual report on Turkey’s progress toward EU membership, which only superficially deals with the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing blockade of Armenia.
The 2008 report presents Turkey’s violations of European standards in depoliticized and watered down language, according to Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy.
The lack of progress on crucial issues such as the State of Law, democracy, and protection of minorities or freedom of expression are only considered as "concerns", "regrets" and "repeated deman’s." The PKK is formally condemned but without any explanation regarding Turkish State exactions in Kurdistan.
The members of the Committee will be looking at the draft resolution prepared by European Parliament member Ria Oomen-Ruijten. They will also have to review the 262 amendmen’s to the draft report, which have been tabled since its introduction. Oomen-Ruijten, who is also a member of the Dutch Christian-Democrat Party was also the rapporteur of the resolution adopted last year.
The new document is less brief than the former one which essentially aimed at exhibiting a gesture of goodwill towards the new elected Turkish government. Nevertheless, it still fails to adequately note Turkey’s serious breaches of its obligations to the European Union.
In the "external relations" chapter of the resolution, the draft report calls on the Turkish government to "end the economic blockade and re-open its border with Armenia" but, in accordance with the rest of the document, abstains from condemning Turkey. The Armenian genocide issue is avoided by using watered down vocabulary that "calls on the Turkish and Armenian governmen’s to start a process of reconciliation, in respect of the present and the past, allowing for a frank and open discussion of past events."
"This wording is typically dictated by Ankara," commented Tchoboian."By refusing to mention the Genocide, it is denialist; the genocide is rooted out from the political scene and from the context of International Law in order to consider it as a tool of the only conflict between a criminal state and its victims."
Between 1987 to 2005, the official position of the European parliament has been to demand the recognition of the Armenian genocide as a prerequisite for accession. No Turkish regime has been able to meet this requirement, let alone make any progress toward it.
The European Parliament’s complacency on this and other issues is interpreted by Ankara as a green light for the continuation of its state sponsored program to deny the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, Europe and the rest of the world, Tchoboian said.
Only 6 of the 262 amendmen’s to the report on Turkey deal with Armenian issues, notably with the Armenian Genocide.
Referring to article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which penalizes freedom of expression, the draft report only asks for "reform" and "modifications" whereas European civil society and virtually all Human Rights organizations call for a complete abrogation, according to Tchoboian.
"We believe that this way of proceeding–the one which consists in enumerating the problems in a technocratic manner by refusing to give them a political appreciation–reduces the role of the European Parliament," she added. "Doing worse than the European Commission is useless for the Union and its citizens. What Europeans need is a Parliament which is the conscience of Europe."


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