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Saturday, 12 July 2008
-- Ankara Continues its Blockade of Armenia; Genocide Denial

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Recently elected Armenian President Serge Sargyan made overtures to his counterpart in the Turkish Government this week, inviting President Abdullah Gül to join him in Armenia’s capital Yerevan to watch the upcoming soccer match between Turkey and Armenia on September 6th, reported that European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD).

Sargsyan also renewed the offer, made by previous Armenian presidents, to establish normal diplomatic relations with the Turkish Government, with no preconditions. The announcements were made in an op/ed published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, which also called for the creation of an inter-governmental “commission to comprehensively discuss all of the complex issues affecting Armenia and Turkey”.

To date, Turkey has not responded to Sargsyan’s proposal.

Turkey is continuing its devastating 15-year blockade of Armenia, imposed due to racial hostility stemming from the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. Turkey continues to make false accusations as to the reasoning for the blockade – blaming everything from the Karabagh conflict to articles in the Armenian Constitution.

The European Armenian Federation noted that Armenia’s calls for the unconditional removal of Turkey’s blockade is a matter of international law and would be beneficial to both countries as well as the region and international community overall. As such, the Federation calls upon the European Union to increase its pressure on Turkey, which, as a candidate for European Union accession, is duty-bound to peacefully resolve all disputes with neighbouring countries in compliance with International law, as mandated in the Framework of Negotiations.

The Federation goes on to note that Sargsyan’s proposal stands in the face of Turkey’s calls to establish a so-called historical commission comprised of revisionist historians to discuss the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, first suggested by Prime Minister Erdogan in 2005.

“The scholarly community has long since spoken on this issue. The International Association of Genocide Scholars has gone so far as to send an open letter to the Turkish Prime Minister to express the pointlessness of such a commission. Turkey itself scuttled a similar committee because that group properly characterized the Armenian Genocide” said Hilda Tchoboian, the president of the European Armenian Federation.

The Federation regrets that Turkey continues its behind-the-scenes efforts to tie the establishment of normalized relations with Armenia with international genocide recognition and reparations – a genocide of which Turkey is guilty.

“The recognition of genocide and the reparations that follow is a moral, legal and political responsibility that no State can escape,” continued Tchoboian. “At this point, the only question that remains is when Turkey will face that fact, stop living in the past, and rejoin the international community by recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” concluded the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.
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