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-- European Leaders Again Allow Turkey to Avoid Ratifying the Ankara's Protocol
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - December 11, 2006 - Two days before the European summit in Brussels, diplomats representing Member-States reached an agreement that represented a major retreat from European values and the Union's own standards.
The 25 Member-States have decided, consistent with the Commission's recommendations, to suspend negotiations on 8 out of the 35 chapters governing Turkey's progress toward compliance with EU standards.
Undermining the impact of this half-step, they failed to set any deadline for Turkey's ratification of the Ankara Protocol - a key document that would, at least implicitly, amount to Turkish recognition of Cyprus.
Questions also remain on the future status of open track, as well as their connection to the timing of the Protocol's ratification. While not bringing any close to this complicated process, the 25 Member States insisted that, up until 2009, the European Commission will release annual reports on Turkey 's compliance with its commitments.
"The Member States' decision confuses - rather than clarifies - the EU's the relations with Turkey,", declared Hilda Tchoboian, the Chairperson of the
European Armenian Federation. "The Council can only restore Europe's credibility in this area by fixing a reasonable deadline for Turkey's ratification of the Protocol."
The Federation regrets the silence of Member-States regarding Turkey's many other failings - such as its denial of the Armenian Genocide and its criminalization of speech recognizing this crime, as well as violations against the Kurds and other the cultural and religious rights of minorities.
These constitute a clear affront to European values.
The Federation stresses that, along with Turkey's refusal to ratify the Ankara Protocol, it continues to violate its own agreements regarding the European Neighbourhood Policy by refusing to lift its illegal blockade on Armenia.
"We regret that pro-Turkish governments within the Union have succeeded in pressuring those within Europe who are working to ensure that Turkey - in spirit and in practice - adopts European values and standards. It is the right and responsibility of all European citizens to take a stand against those who would grant Turkey undeserved access and privileges at the expense
of European values and to the detriment of Europe's future."

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