EP/Turkey: A new report without any political position

for Justice and Democracy
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For immediate release
Friday, 18 April 2008
Contact : Varténie ECHO
Tel. / Fax. : +32 (0) 2 732 70 27


The blockade on Armenia merely mentioned; the Armenian Genocide
passed over

The EP Committee on Foreign Affairs will adopt on Monday 21 April
its traditional report on Turkey’s "progress". The members of the
Committee will have to look into the draft resolution prepared by
Mrs Ria Oomen-Ruijten (Christian-Democrat, Netherlands) and the 262
amendments tabled. Mrs Oomen-Ruijten was also the rapporteur of the
resolution adopted last year.

The new preparatory document seems to be less brief than the former
one which essentially aimed at exhibiting a gesture of goodwill
towards the new elected Turkish government. Nevertheless, it remains
well short of European expectations by continuing in minimizing the
serious breaches of Turkey.

Thus, in the "external relations" chapter, the draft report "calls on
the Turkish government to end the economic blockade and re-open its
border with Armenia" but, in accordance with the rest of the document,
abstains from condemning Turkey. The Armenian genocide issue is dodged
by a wording which "calls on the Turkish and Armenian governments to
start a process of reconciliation, in respect of the present and the
past, allowing for a frank and open discussion of past events".

"This wording is typically dictated by Ankara: by refusing to mention
the Genocide, it is denialist ; by sending away Turkey and Armenia,
the genocide is rooted out from the political scene and from the
context of International Law in order to consider it as a tool of the
only conflict between a criminal state and its victims", commented
Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

The Federation reminds us that the position reaffirmed several
times by the Parliament from 1987 to 2005 consists in demanding
the recognition of the Armenian genocide as a prerequisite for
accession. The Federation highlights that the Turkish regimes have
never progressed on this issue as on others only under constraints of
strong demands, and that any complacency is interpreted by Ankara as
a green light given to its State denial in Turkey and even in Europe.

About 6 (mainly from communist and socialist MEPs) out of the 262
amendments tabled deal with Armenian issues, notably with the Armenian
Genocide (see below [i]).

In a general point of view, the 2008 edition deals with all the
Turkish breaches but by using light and depoliticised wordings: the
innumerable lack of progress observed on crucial issues as the State of
Law, democracy, protection of minorities or freedom of expression are
only considered as "concerns", "regrets" and "repeated demands". Only
the PKK is formally condemned but without any explanation regarding
Turkish State exactions in Kurdistan.

Referring to article 301of the Turkish Penal Code, which penalises
freedom of expression, the draft report only asks for a "reform"
and "modifications" whereas the European civil society and all Human
Rights organizations call for a complete abrogation.

"We believe that this way of proceeding – the one which consists
in enumerating the problems in a technocratic manner by refusing to
give them a political appreciation – reduces the role of the European
Parliament", continued Hilda Tchoboian. "Doing worse than the European
Commission is useless for the Union and its citizens. What Europeans
need is a Parliament which is the conscience of Europe", she concluded.

–Boundary_(ID_ERHx5qQ6OT/7V0mb0kMliw) —

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