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050929 - 'Turkey must recognise genocide''Turkey must recognise genocide'
The Daily Telegraph, UK(Filed: 28/09/2005)Turkey has rejected demands by the European parliament that it recognise the killing of Armenians as genocide before it can join the EU.

Armenians say that up to 1.5 million of their people were slaughtered in mass killings under the Ottoman Empire in 1915.But the Turkish government insists that the killing of Armenians was not a systematic genocide. They maintain that a smaller number of Armenians died, and that they perished unintentionally because of exposure, famine and

The request has angered Ankara, and the Turkish prime minister immediately rejected the resolution.
"That resolution is not binding. It does not matter whether they took such a decision or not. We will continue on our way," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told private CNN-Turk television.

Turkey has also come under pressure to recognise the Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, in the run up to membership talks.Other issues of contention are Ankara's record on human rights, religious freedom and its treatment of minorities.
The resolution requesting the recognition of the genocide came as the European Parliament backed the opening of EU entry talks with Turkey, due to start Monday Oct 3.

They are largely a formality, but the approval of talks is seen as a positive step.
There are concerns within the EU about Turkey joining the bloc. French and Dutch voters recently rejected a planned EU constitution, in part over concerns about the country's bid for membership. The largely Muslim country has been trying to join the EU for years.

The issue of Cyprus caused the lawmakers to postpone a planned vote on Turkey's extended customs union with the EU. They want Turkey to open its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus.


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