Don’t Change Rules Midstream For Turkey’s EU Entry: Council Of Europ


Agence France Presse — English
October 2, 2006 Monday

The Council of Europe’s parliamentary leader criticized Monday
suggestions by French President Jacques Chirac that Ankara should
recognize World War I era massacres of Armenians as genocide if it
wanted to join the European Union.

"One can’t change the rules in the middle of the game," Dutch
parliament President Rene van der Linden told reporters, referring
to EU membership conditions for Turkey.

Referring to the French President, who said Saturday that Turkey
needed to come to terms with its Ottoman past, van der Linden said:
"This is not the first time he has changed his mind."

The EU has not made recognizing the 1915-1917 massacres as genocide
a condition for entry into the block, and up until Saturday France
had refused to make a direct link between the two.

But when asked in Yerevan whether the two should be linked, Chirac said
"Honestly, I think so."

"If there are serious questions, we will tackle them but we don’t
add to (existing) conditions," van der Linden said in describing the
procedure for entry into the EU.

"If there is a loss of confidence, we create mistrust then the entire
negotiation will suffer," then lawmaker added.

Founded 60 years ago, the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe is not
part of the European Union.

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