France to include “Armenian genocide” in Turkey’s EU bid talks: FM

France to include “Armenian genocide” in Turkey’s EU bid talks: FM

Xinhua, China
Dec 20 2004

PARIS, Dec. 20 (Xinhuanet) — France will include the issue of the
“Armenian genocide” when negotiations over Turkey’s admission to the
European Union (EU) start next October, French Foreign Minister Michel
Barnier told F rench RTL radio on Monday.

“What has to be done now is to start membership negotiations which
are going to be very long, very difficult, during which we will put
all issues on the table, including that of the Armenian genocide,
with the hope of obtaining a response from Turkey before membership,”
said the minister.

Barnier used the term “Armenian genocide” last Tuesday in frontof the
French parliament instead of “tragedy” — the term used by the Turkish
authorities — which Barnier had earlier used in debates on the issue.

The 1915-1917 massacre of Armenians, in which an estimated 1.5 million
people died under the Ottoman Empire, has been a sensitive subject
of Turkey’s EU bid.

On Jan. 18, 2001, the French parliament passed a resolution stating
that “France recognizes publicly the Armenian genocide of 1915”
without designating responsibility.

French President Jacques Chirac supports Turkey’s bid to join the EU
but faces deep opposition from his own ruling party and the majority
of French voters.

During the EU summit meeting last Thursday and Friday, Chirac firmly
backed negotiations for Turkey’s EU membership scheduled tostart
Oct. 3, 2005.

However, he promised the final decision on Turkey’s membership,so far
as French voters are concerned, will come in a referendum at the end
of the negotiations. Enditem