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051026|EAFJD|EU Commission:Unprecedented step calling Turkey
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October 26th, 2005 | EAFJD | Talline Tachdjian | Bruxelles

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PRESS RELEASE

EUROPEAN COMMISSION TAKES UNPRECEDENTED STEP OF CALLING ON TURKEY TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

-- Request Represents the First Time the Commission has Directly Pressed Ankara to end its Campaign of Armenian Genocide Denial --


Brussels, Belgium (26 October 2005) - In an unprecedented move welcomed by the European Armenian Federation, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, has directly called upon Turkey to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.

During a recent speech at Harvard University (United States), Mr. Barroso stressed that, "We should bear in mind that Turkey is an important state and has great potential from the viewpoint of the social and economic future of Europe. However the problem of Kurds and national minorities still remains a very delicate matter for Turkey. National minorities in Turkey constantly face infringement of their human rights."

In his remarks about European relations with Turkey, Mr Barroso stated that Ankara is developing relations with Greece and should adopt a similarly constructive approach toward Armenia. He explained that, "Turks should acknowledge the reality of the Armenian Genocide. Orhan Pamuk's case is an inadmissible step from the standpoint of freedom of speech. Turkey should refrain from simplified attitude towards the Armenian issue. Europeans dislike the words 'there was no Genocide.' Ankara's best move would be the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and opening the borders with Armenia."

"We welcome the unprecedented statement by Mr. Barroso as both a reflection of true European values and a return to a principled approach on the part of the European Commission and the European Union. With this declaration by the Commission's president, the three main bodies of the E.U. - the Parliament, Commission and Council - have all taken a common stand - a firm position that can no longer be ignored by Turkey," said Hilda Tchoboian, chairwoman of the European Armenian Federation.

"We expect that this renewed determination on the part of European institutions will impress upon Turkey that regional peace and stability requires that Turkey come to terms with its responsibilities for the Armenian Genocide," she continued. "As a next step, we will work toward the Commission incorporating these demands into the relevant chapters of the Acquis and into screening procedure for Turkey's EU application," concluded Tchoboian.

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