WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomed the adoption of three strongly worded measures by the European Parliament calling on Turkey to properly recognize the Armenian genocide. These measures were actively supported by the Brussels-based European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD)–which represents more than two hundred Armenian associations across Europe.
The provisions were added on the eve of the December 17 vote of the European Council on opening membership talks with Turkey as amendmen’s to a Parliamentary report on Turkey’s progress toward accession to the European Union. The report–prepared by Camiel Eurlings (PPE/The Netherlands)–passed by a vote of 407 to 262. The Eurling Report stresses in Paragraph 55 that–"the opening of negotiations will be the starting point for a long-lasting process […] and does not lead ‘a priori’ and automatically to accession." An amendment to the report suggesting that Turkey be granted a "privileged partnership" rather than actual membership in the European Union was rejected by a secret ballot.
"Armenian Americans join with the European Armenian Federation and Armenia’s across Europe in welcoming this historic vote reaffirming the international consensus that Turkey must recognize the Armenian Genocide–lift its blockade of Armenia–and abandon it hostile policies toward Armenia and the Armenian people," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "The strong support for these measures across the European political spectrum has resonance around the world–including here in the United States–where a growing number of American legislators are growing tired of increasingly strident–often desperate–Turkish efforts to dictate US policy on the Armenian Genocide."
The Eurling Report made specific reference to Armenian issues in eight separate paragraphs–with three dealing specifically with Armenian genocide recognition. Amendmen’s on the genocide were brought to the floor by the following political groups: Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats (EPP)–Socialist Group in the European Parliament (PSE)–Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)–Confederal Group of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left–and The Independence and Democracy Group ( IND/DEM/ Netherlands).
The European Parliament urged Turkey to "promote the process of reconciliation with the Armenian people by acknowledging the genocide" and called on the European Council and Commission to demand it to "formally acknowledge the historic reality" of the genocide.
The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) welcomed the adoption of the Eurling Report and the three amendmen’s clearly articulating the European consensus that Turkey must acknowledge the Armenian genocide. "On the eve of the European Summit–heads of state must–as they chart a course for the future–take into account the democratic will of the European electorate and our elected representatives in the European Parliament," stated Hilda Tchoboian–Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation. "This is a tremendous victory for Europeans who want to preserve European values in the face of Turkey’s ongoing denial of the Genocide," she said.
Since the European Parliament resolution of 1987–which set the recognition of the Armenian genocide as a precondition to the consideration of Turkish accession to the Union–the European Parliament has continuously restated this principled position in successive resolutions. This message was reinforced earlier this week by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs–who called on Turkey to recognize the genocide against the Armenia’s. The clear consensus within European circles remains: Turkey cannot join the Union without giving up its ultra-nationalist and aggressive policy towards Armenia. "European Armenia’s urge the upcoming meeting of the European Council to reflect the will of the European public–to honor this vote of the European Parliament–and to respect the European values on which the European project is based," concluded Tchoboian.