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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs is scheduled on September 4th to consider a draft report on Turkey prepared by Dutch MEP Camiel Eurlings (EPP). Over the past two months, pro-Turkish forces with European institutions have sought to ignore or marginalize more than 340 amendments, mostly critical of Turkey, that have been offered to the measure.

The draft prepared by Eurling deals with the Armenian Genocide in a vaguely worded paragraph that calls upon the Parliament to "takes note of the proposal by Turkey to establish a bilateral committee of experts in order to overcome the tragic experience of the past, and the position of Armenia regarding that proposal" and "urges both the Turkish government and the Armenian government to continue their process of reconciliation leading to a mutually acceptable resolution.

" This formulation, which is patterned after the outright denial position of the Turkish government, represents a retreat from the Parliament's traditional posture of calling on Turkey to properly acknowledge this crime against humanity. This proposed dramatic shift in position prompted a broad range of MEPs to offer amendments to this measure.

With regard to Turkey's blockade of Armenia, the draft report "urges Turkey to take the necessary steps, without any preconditions, to establish diplomatic and good neighbourly relations with Armenia and to open the land border at an early date, in accordance with the resolutions adopted by Parliament between 1987 and 2005."

Rather than recognizing that the large number of amendments reflect broad-based dissatisfaction with the draft's pro-Turkey bias, the Rapporteur and political party leaders chose to propose their own set of proposed "compromise" changes.
These proposals largely ignore the vast majority of the amendments.
The managers of this process, in the place of allowing MEPs to weight the merits of the amendments, have chosen instead to reduce these concerns to a series of weak and basically ineffectual measures. Collectively, the "compromise" proposals that have more in common with Turkish government's position than the standing policy of the European Parliament.

"The draft and the changes being put forward by the Rapporteur don't represent a compromise, but rather a profound retreat from the European Parliament's principled position," declared the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation, Hilda Tchoboian.

The European Armenian Federation encourages Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to exercise their right to vote on the duly offered amendments urging Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide as a precondition for joining the European Union. The Federation also calls upon MEPs to vote for amendments calling upon the Commission to include in the Ankara Roadmap framework the necessity that Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide and lifts its blockade of Armenia.

"On these vital issues, Members of the European Parliament understand that the false compromises being put forward would both undermine the EU's values as well as its security interests. A retreat from principle will not encourage progress by Turkey, but rather be interpreted as a sign of weakness that will only embolden the Turkish leadership in its implementation of ultra-nationalistic policies," concluded Hilda Tchoboian.
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For immediate release
September 1st, 2006
Contact: Vartenie ECHO
Tel. / Fax.: +32 (0) 2 732 70 27


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