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CRITICIZED - 350 European organizations and leaders from 21 countries call on European Union to integrate the Armenian Genocide in the negotiations framework - The UMP (Union for Popular Movement) Members of the European Parliament ask the Council to modify the European Commission's negotiations mandate Brussels, Belgium (July 7th, 2005) ­- Over 350 associations and key leaders of European civil society from 21 countries responded to an appeal by the European Armenian Federation to include Armenian Genocide recognition in Turkey's EU accession negotiations framework. The initiative, launched last April, as the world marked the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, garnered the support of groups representing Armenian Genocide survivors and their descendants, associations for the defense of victims of Genocide and crimes against humanity, Human Rights groups, member organizations of the Charter of European Armenians, as well as key figures of European political life. The European Appeal urged the European Union to integrate calls by national and European Parliaments to include Genocide recognition in the negotiations framework. The European Armenian Federation noted that, on Tuesday July 5th, the French delegation of European People's Party (EPP ­- Christian Democrats) of European Parliament called on the Council "to modify the mandate of negotiations of the [European] Commission", notably "to reinforce the exigencies of Union on essential topics such as Freedom of Religion, Penal legislation, the recognition of Cyprus and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide". In a July 5th press release issued by the French EPP (, Mr Jacques Toubon, Vice President of the EU-Turkey Delegation, accused the Commission of harboring an "irresponsible attitude" which was "totally devoid of reality". He affirmed that "the official framework of negotiations essentially engages Turkey on its terms and not the criteria laid down by the [European] Union". During the presentation of the negotiations framework to the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), Mr Olli Rehn, the Commissioner responsible for European Enlargement, revealed that a program geared to promote "dialogue between the Turkish and European civil societies" was in fact intended to improve European public opinion about Turkey's accession to the EU. That program will be allocated 40 millions euros in 2006 alone. "We would encourage the European Union to utilize the criteria established by the European Parliament, adopted since the beginning of Turkey's accession process, instead wasting funds trying to improve Turkey's image in Europe at the expense of European tax dollars," stated European Armenian Federation Chairwoman Hilda Tchoboian. "It is regrettable that the Commission would so openly ignore the wishes of 450 million European citizens and their 730 elected representatives. It is an abnormal and dangerous situation for democracy. Encouraged by the support of political parties and leaders in the Union, we will again submit the European Appeal and the signatories list to the European Council in the days leading up to the October 3rd negotiations," concluded Tchoboian.


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