*CDCA Europe Urges European Parliament Members to Adopt "Per Gahrton" Report
BRUSSELS–The Armenian National Committee of Europe (CDCA Europe) has announced its support for a draft report by M. Per Gahrton (European Greens–Sweden) defining European relations with the nations of the southern Caucasus. The report–which will be considered by the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee as early as January 23–urges Turkey to lift its nine-year blockade of Armenia and reiterates the 1987 European Parliament call for Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
"We agree with M. Gahrton’s draft report–which is based on a balanced analysis of the realities in the Transcaucasus. His proposal highlights Europe’s commitment to stability and peace in the region–in stark contrast to other powers whose activities in the Caucasus are largely driven by oil and strategic interests," explained Hilda Tchoboian–President of the CDCA Europe.
Mister Gahrton’s report–entitled "European Union’s relations with the South Caucasus–under the Partnership and Cooperation Agreemen’s," urges the European Union to step up initiatives to assist the development of the countries of the Transcaucasus–Armenia–Azerbaijan and Georgia–and stresses the key role that Russia–Iran and Turkey play in ensuring peace in the region.
In this regard–Paragraph 12 of the resolution stipulates that:
"[The] European Parliament calls upon Turkey to take appropriate steps in accordance with its European ambitions–especially concerning the termination of the blockade against Armenia; reiterates in this respect the position in its resolution of 18 June 1987 recognizing the genocide upon Armenia’s in 1915 as a fact and calls upon Turkey to do the same."
Several proposed amendmen’s to the draft report attempt to weaken or eliminate reference to the Armenian Genocide while maintaining language calling for the lifting of Turkey’s blockade of Armenia. Specifically–Amendment no. 50–proposed by the European Socialist group and introduced by Hannes Swoboda (PSE–Austria)–would replace the term "genocide" with "historical events in Armenia in 1915." Amendment no. 54–introduced by Arie Oostlander (EPP–Netherlands)–retains references to the 1987 European Parliament decision but does not specifically call upon Turkey to recognize its crime against humanity.
"We remain deeply troubled by the Turkish governmen’s ongoing efforts within European and other international democratic institutions to manipulate of the Armenian Genocide issue and prevent its consideration as a central issue in discussions regarding the Caucasus region. Any retreat on this issue would send a dangerous signal to the Turkish government and military that it can act with impunity against its neighbors," explained Tchoboian.
Commenting on Turkey’s alliance with Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh–Tchoboian expressed concern about Turkey’s efforts to position itself as an impartial mediator in the ongoing peace talks–particularly at a time when Azerbaijan is renewing its calls for aggression against the people of Karabakh.
"If Europe sees a role for Turkey in its Caucasus policy–then it must also take steps to ensure that Turkey – an unrepentant perpetrator of genocide against the Armenian people – will be able to inspire the necessary confidence among all parties–particularly Armenia–which continues to suffer the devastating human and economic effects of Turkey’s blockade."
The CDCA Europe has been working with a broad spectrum of European Parliament members urging passage of the M. Per Gahrton report without amendmen’s. Following a discussion and vote by the Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23rd–the report will be taken up during a plenary session of the European Parliament.