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EU Parliament Insists On Armenian Genocide Recognition By Turkey

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  • EU Parliament Insists On Armenian Genocide Recognition By Turkey

    The European Parliament reiterated on Wednesday that Turkey’s accession to the European Union must be conditional, among other things, on its recognition of the 1915-1918 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

    The EU legislature adopted by 356 votes in favor, 181 against and 125 abstentions a resolution that “calls on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide” and “considers this recognition to be a prerequisite for accession to the European Union.”

    The resolution, which also demands that Ankara recognize Cyprus, came ahead of membership talks between the EU and Turkey that are due to open on Monday. It is not binding for the 25-nation bloc’s executive European Commission and member governments. But it does reflect growing unease about the prospect of a large Muslim country joining the EU.

    It is not the first time that the European Parliament urges Turkey to end its long-running denial of the Armenian genocide. All of its previous genocide resolutions were angrily condemned by Ankara.

    "That resolution is not binding,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, reacting to its passage later on Wednesday. “It does not matter whether they took such a decision or not. We will continue on our way,” private CNN-Turk television quoted him as saying during a visit to Abu Dhabi.

    But the European Armenian Federation, a Brussels-based lobbying group, was quick to welcome the Strasbourg-based parliament’s statement. “This latest appeal by the European Parliament ahead of the negotiations with Turkey must serve as a guideline for the European Council and the European Commission,” its chairman, Hilda Tchoboian, said in a statement.

    “We therefore call on the EU foreign ministers to touch upon the genocide issue during their meeting in Luxembourg on October 3,” she added.

    Of all the EU member states only France has so far demanded that genocide recognition be a necessary condition for Turkish entry into the EU. President Jacques Chirac expressed hope last December that the Turks will do some “memory work” on the subject. But other EU officials have made it clear that while genocide recognition could be on the agenda of the upcoming accession talks it will not be a precondition for their successful outcome.


  • #2
    Since we are democratic people , i will post the Turkish version of the story as well.


    EP Provocations to Turkey

    The European Parliament (EP) which postponed ratification on the Customs Union Supplementary Protocol, signed between Turkey and European Union (EU) has now called Turkey to acknowledge the events which took place between 1915 and 1923, as Armenian genocide.

    After calling the prosecution of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk and the cancellation of the Armenian conference ‘provocations’ aiming to obstruct Turkey’s EU process, the EP has now made a provocation itself.

    On Wednesday, the EP issued one of its most severe resolutions on Turkey. EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Chair Joost Lagendijk told Zaman, “After the provocations of Pamuk and Armenian conference, this is a provocation from EP.”

    The resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide is non-binding, but the EP’s attitude regarding the protocol is assessed as the beginning of a legal crisis. For the Supplementary Protocol to come into effect, approval in the European Parliament is required.

    EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn maintained the postponement would not impede the beginning of the negotiations. However, his letter to EP is reported to have been effective in the postponement.

    The Commissioner who had announced he would take action so that Turkish parliament did not handle the Supplementary Protocol and the declaration together, had put EP into expectation.

    In the meantime, Christian Democrats have turned out to have deceived other political groups in the EP.

    The Christian Democrats had promised not to propose the postponement of the vote on the Supplementary Protocol if a common resolution emerged in the last session.

    On Wednesday evening, however, they announced they would not keep to this.

    The Supplementary Protocol that envisages the extension of the Customs Union to the 10 new Union members including the Greek Cypriots was on EP’s agenda Wednesday.

    Postponing the ratification vote on the Supplementary Protocol and issuing a joint resolution which contained quite severe terms.

    The delay in approving the Supplementary Protocol has triggered a serious legal crisis on the eve of October 3.

    The Christian Democrats, EPP, demanded of Turkish parliament to left out the unilateral declaration, which proclaimed non-recognition of the Greek Cypriots, during the ratification process of the Supplementary Protocol in the Turkish Parliament and they managed to impose this approach to the EP.

    Now, the European Parliament wants to see how the Supplementary Protocol and the declaration will be handled by the Turkish parliament.

    Turkey, in the meantime, has communicated to its counterparts that it is out of question that the European parliament does not ratify the declaration.

    Ankara thinks that the declaration and its ratification are rights that derive from the international law and that EP’s demand is tantamount to asking Turkey not to exercise the rights that derive from the international law.

    The EP could not assume a consistent attitude with regard to Turkey’s declaration on Cyprus, it has been noted. The Union had not taken any such action in relation with the declaration Greece unilaterally issued to object to the name of Macedonia.

    Reportedly, the EP has taken four decisions similar to the one about the so-called Armenian genocide it has taken on Wednesday.

    The first of these four decisions was taken in 1987.

    Attention is drawn to attitudes that these decisions were evaluated “politically” rather than “legally” and that the decisions by the European Court of Justice reflected the same perspective.

    Christian Democrats mislead the parliament

    Christian Democrats misled the other political groups in the EP about the supplementary protocol.

    In the last meeting with the other political groups, the EPP promised they would not offer any postponement of the supplementary protocol if a common decision appears like this. Upon this, the Socialists, the Greens, and the Liberals allowed the joint decision to toughen against Turkey.

    The EPP group assured that they would not present any motion asking amendments in some issues including the so-called Armenian genocide in return of toughening the text.

    However, the EPP calling the other groups at late night hours on Wednesday said they would not be dependent on the agreement reached and present a motion about postponement of the supplementary protocol.

    The EPP has therefore toughened the joint resolution as they wished and caused the so-called Armenian genocide to be accepted as a precondition for Turkey’s membership to the EU.

    Chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee in EP Joost Lagendijk said the EPP misled them. Lagendijk directing his criticisms specifically to Elmar Brok said they were shocked as the resolution was reached with the support of unexpected groups.

    EU Commissioner Olli Rehn scores own goal

    Reportedly, an official letter by the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn to the EP was effective in the postponement of the supplementary protocol. Rehn sent a letter to Elmar Brok, chairman of the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee, on September 22, conveying he would make an attempt not to allow Turkey’s Cyprus declaration (July 29) to be approved together with the supplementary protocol at Turkish parliament.

    Comments have been made that that the EP had expectations about this and the letter became effective in the postponement of the voting.

    Rehn released an announcement yesterday expressing regrets about the EP’s decision of delay and saying the decision will not affect the negotiations to begin on October 3. Rehn determined that EP’s attitude weakened EU’s calls on Turkey about non-fulfillment of its promises about the Supplementary Protocol.

    Rehn also used football terminology in his yesterday speech saying that EU should not score an own goal. Despite Rehn’s warnings, EP members delayed the voting with the excuse that Turkey will approve the Declaration on Cyprus in the Turkish Parliament.

    Significant points of the decision

    If Turkey does not approve the Supplementary Protocol, EU negotiations may stop.

    Chapters on the Customs Union should be first chapters to deal with.

    Turkey should immediately recognize the Greek Cypriot Administration. Recognition is not an issue to be discussed.

    Turkey should pullout its troops from Cyprus in an early period under the framework of a schedule.

    EU’s absorption capacity is a prerequisite of enlargement.

    Isolation on Turkish Cypriots should end.

    Lawsuit against Orhan Pamuk is a source of concern. Turkish Criminal Code’s (TCK) articles of 301/1 and 305 should be reviewed. Bill on Foundations is a source of concern as well.

    Vessels and airplanes under Greek Cypriot flag should be permitted to enter Turkish sea and airports.

    EU Commission should inform about the number of people who have faced torture in Turkey in the progress report.


    • #3

      The truth easily triumphed over some of the world’s most powerful political forces in a David vs. Goliath battle that took place in the chambers of the House International Relations Committee on Sept. 15.

      Marshaled against the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide were the combined forces of the Turkish government, American lobbying firms hired by Turkey, the American Turkish Council, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, several Je wish-American organizations, and the U.S. Department of State.

      Two resolutions were simultaneously presented to the Committee last week: Res. 195, calling for the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide and urging the Republic of Turkey to acknowledge the culpability of its predecessor state, the Ottoman Empire, for the Armenian Genocide; and Res. 316, calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide as documented in U.S. archives on the Armenian Genocide.

      Given the fact that the U.S. government has all along acknowledged the heinous crimes committed against the Armenian people, there would normally be no need for such resolutions. In addition to the thousands of contemporaneous reports and documents in the U.S. national archives, both the House and the Senate have adopted resolutions on these mass killings as early as 1916, and signed by Pres. Woodrow Wilson. In more recent years, Armenian Genocide resolutions have been adopted by the full House in 1975 and 1984. In addition, two amendments concerning the Armenian Genocide were adopted by the House in 1996 and 2004. Furthermore, Pres. Ronald Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation on April 22, 1981, acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

      Despite all of these acknowledgments, Armenian Americans try to pass such resolutions in order to counter the continued denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government and its U.S. cronies. The attempt to counter the denialists have regrettably made these commemorative resolutions a test of political will between the unholy alliance of revisionist forces and the Armenian American community.

      Since 1999, the Turkish government has engaged the services of The Livingston Group to block these congressional resolutions. The lobbying firm is led by the highly influential former Cong. Bob Livingston. However, judging from the results of the votes in the Committee in favor of both resolutions (40 to 7; and 35 to 11), it appears that the Turkish government has basically wasted the more than $10 million it paid the Livingston Group in the past 5 years (figures based on a recent study conducted by Public Citizen). Prominent Turkish journalist Sami Kohen agreed with this negative assessment when he stated in his Sept. 16 column published in Milliyet: "We can’t say that the professional lobbyists working for Turkey are very successful." Thus, it would not be surprising should the Turkish government terminate the services of the Livingston Group in the coming months, particularly since Mr. Livingston has been quite pre-occupied with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that devastated his home state of Louisiana.

      Sami Kohen also attributed the passage of both resolutions to "Turkey’s incompetence in promotion - in conveying its ideas and influencing pubic opinion." Since Amb. Faruk Logoglu is responsible for carrying out the initiatives of his government in Washington, his abject failure to block these resolutions in Committee may cost him his job. Except for the one letter (most probably written by the lobbying firm) that Amb. Logoglu circulated to the members of the House panel, he was surprisingly inactive and ineffective.

      Also ineffective were the efforts of the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) in countering these two resolutions. ATC Chairman Brent Scowcroft sent a letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert on Sept. 9, warning him of dire consequences for American firms doing business with Turkey, should the resolutions be even discussed in the House. In response, the Armenian National Committee issued a press release accusing Scowcroft, a former National Security Advisor to Pres. George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, of "compromising his integrity in pursuit of personal business interests."

      The ATAA, in its turn, issued an Action Alert to its members on Sept. 8, urging them to contact the members of the House panel and sent a letter to Cong. Henry Hyde, the Chairman of the House International Relations Committee on Sept. 14. The ATAA warned its members that "inaction on the part of the Turkish American community will compromise U.S.-Turkish relations, encourage more acts of harassment, violence and terrorism against people of Turkish and Turkic descent, and could potentially lead to territorial and compensation claims against the Republic of Turkey."

      The ATC and ATAA are the two groups whose officials, according to an article in this month’s Vanity Fair magazine, had allegedly discussed making illegal campaign contributions to Speaker Dennis Hastert, in order to block the passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in fall 2000. The magazine said it had based its report on FBI wiretaps.

      The Turks also failed to enlist the services of various American-Je wish groups to their cause.
      Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was in the U.S. on the eve of the House Committee vote, personally asked the leaders of the American Je wish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League to lobby against the Armenian Genocide resolution. According to the Turkish press, these Je wish groups pledged their support to the Prime Minister. However, judging from their inaction on this issue, it appears that they did nothing more than paying lip service to the Turkish leader.

      Another loser in this latest political tug-of-war was the U.S. State Department. In a letter addressed to Chairman Hyde on Sept. 15, Matthew A. Reynolds, the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, reiterated "the Administration’s strong opposition" to these resolutions. Beyond writing this letter, the Bush Administration did not do anything substantial to pressure the Republican Chairman of the Committee into blocking the two resolutions. After the vote, when Adam Ereli, the Deputy Spokesman of the State Dept. was asked if the Administration would try to prevent these resolutions from reaching the House floor, he would only reiterate that the Administration did not support the adoption of these resolutions in the House Committee. The Turkish press speculated that the U.S. government’s lackluster effort to counter these resolutions was due to the American anger at the Turkish Parliament’s refusal to allow U.S. troops to enter Iraq from Turkey prior to the Iraqi war.

      While the Bush Administration may have couched its displeasure at Turkey, Cong. Tom Lantos (D-CA), a staunch supporter of Turkey and a rabid opponent of previous Armenian Genocide resolutions, stunned everyone when he brazenly announced during the Committee meeting that he was going to vote for both resolutions in order to teach the Turks a lesson for not supporting the U.S. on the eve of the Iraqi war. Only 3 of the 50 members of the House International Relations Committee spoke against these resolutions. More than 20 others spoke in favor. It was, therefore, not surprising that the Committee overwhelmingly approved both resolutions.

      The Committee’s Republican Chairman, Henry Hyde, was unwavering in his support for these resolutions. He dismissed out of hand Turkish warnings that their adoption would damage U.S.-Turkish relations. He said that the resolutions "merely recognize the fact that the authorities of the Ottoman Empire deliberately slaughtered the majority of the Armenian community in their empire. Denial of that fact cannot be justified on the basis of expediency or fear that speaking the truth will do us harm."

      Given the overwhelming support in Committee in favor of these resolutions and the lackluster efforts of their opponents, it is almost certain that the entire House would easily vote to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.

      Speaker Hastert should promptly bring one of these resolutions for a vote on the House floor. The duly elected representatives of the American people should not be deprived of the opportunity to express their position on this important issue. The Speaker would be also honoring his pledge of five years ago that he would allow a full floor vote on the Armenian Genocide resolution.

      By allowing such a vote, Speaker Hastert would also clear his name from boastful allegations made by some Turkish officials that they have bought his opposition to the Armenian Genocide resolution by making illegal contributions to his campaign.


      • #4
        The Democratic Republic of Armenia with capital in Yerevgrad. What do you say, RB?


        • #5
          It sucks.


          • #6

            I tried.