Turkey not worthy of EU integration: Armenian FM

Turkey not worthy of EU integration: Armenian FM

EU Business
11 October 2004

Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian on Monday said Turkey should
not be allowed at this time to open accession talks with the European
Union, a statement reflecting the lingering poisonous atmosphere
between the two countries over the issue of the 1915 genocide of
Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.

“At this time Turkey is not worthy of being authorised to begin
negotiations for entry into the European Union,” Oskanian said at a
press conference in the Armenian capital, citing Ankara’s refusal to
recognize the genocide of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during
World War I.

The massacres of Armenians during World War I is one of the most
controversial episodes in Turkish history.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen were killed in
massacres or deportations between 1915 and 1917.

Turkey categorically rejects claims of genocide and says that between
250,000 and 500,000 Armenians were killed in civil strife when the
Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers.

Armenia’s foreign minister also said he was worried that by accepting
Turkey as a member, the EU would close its eyes to the fact that
Ankara has kept its border with Armenia closed since 1993.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia to support Baku in its war
against Yerevan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, a mainly
Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan.

A close ally of Azerbaijan, Turkey has declined to establish diplomatic
ties with Armenia and remains bitter at the country’s efforts to
secure international condemnation of the early 20th century killings
of Armenians as “genocide”.

The European Commission has given a conditional green light to launch
Turkey’s EU membership negotiations but will make a final decision
about a starting date at a summit on December 17.