PRAGUE: Stetina To Submit Bill On Recognition Of Armenian Genocide


Czech News Agency
April 4, 2006 Tuesday

Prague, April 4 (CTK) – Senator Jaromir Stenina (for the Green Party)
wants to submit a bill by which the Czech Republic would recognise
violence committed against Armenians in the Ottoman empire in 1915
as genocide, he told an international conference on the Armenian
genocide that was held in the Senate today. Turkey has refused to
recognise the extermination of Armenians as genocide and some Czech
and foreign politicians view this as a possible obstacle to Turkeys
admission to the European Union. Armenians consider April 1915 when
the government of the Ottoman empire arrested more than 2,300 Armenian
leaders as the beginning of the genocide in which up to 1.5 million
Armenians were killed in the following months and years.

Turkey denies that the Armenian genocide happened and links these
events with the fight against Armenians who, it says, collaborated
with the Russian army. It says that the accusation of the genocide
is supposed to delay its entry to the EU. According to Turkey, some
300,000 to 500,000 Armenians were killed during these events. "This
is the denial of the genocide by the whole nation. Europe should put
certain obstacles to Turkeys entry to the EU. Europe is based on the
principles that would be threatened if such Turkey joined the EU,"
chairwoman of the European-Armenian federation Hilda Tchoboian from
France said at the conference. "No government in Europe, except for
France, has recognised the genocide. The parliaments of some countries
are an exception," Vahakh Dadrian, an expert pn genocide who cooperates
with Harvard University in the USA, said. Armenian Deputy Foreign
Minister Arman Kirasosyan said that Armenia had not registered any
real changes in the position on the genocide as efforts to deny it
continued. "This prevents us from settling our relations with Turkey,"
he said. Stetina said it was important for Turkey that seeks to join
the EU to come to terms with its past. He said that the recent passage
of a similar law in Slovakia inspired his activities. Former Slovak
prime minister Jan Carnogursky told the conference about Slovakias
experience. By passing such a law, the Czech Republic would join
some two dozen countries that have passed such legislation, including
France, Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Canada and Slovakia. The European
Parliament recognised the killings of Armenians as genocide in 1987.

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