December 15, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) today welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament of three strongly worded measures calling on Turkey to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. These measures were actively supported by the Brussels-based European Armenian Federation [ANC-Europe], which represents more than two hundred Armenian associations across Europe.

The provisions were added, on the eve of the December 17th vote of the European Council on opening European Union membership talks with Turkey, as amendments to a Parliamentary report on Turkey’s progress toward accession to the European Union. This report, prepared by Camiel Eurlings (PPE/The Netherlands) was passed by a vote of 407 to 262. Significantly, the report stressed, in Paragraph 55, that, “the opening of negotiations will be the starting point for a long-lasting process […] and does not lead ‘a priori’ and automatically to accession.” An amendment to the report suggesting that Turkey be granted a “privileged partnership” rather than actual membership in the European Union was rejected by a secret ballot.

“Armenian Americans join with the European Armenian Federation and Armenians across Europe in welcoming this historic vote reaffirming the international consensus that Turkey must recognize the Armenian Genocide, lift its blockade of Armenia, and abandon it hostile policies toward Armenia and the Armenian people,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The strong support for these measures across the European political spectrum has resonance around the world, including here in the United States, where a growing number of American legislators are growing tired of increasingly strident – often desperate – Turkish efforts to dictate U.S. policy on the Armenian Genocide.”

The Eurling Report made specific reference to Armenian issues in eight separate paragraphs, with three dealing specifically with Armenian Genocide recognition. Amendments on the Genocide were brought to the floor by four political groups (EPP, PSE, ALDE, United Left, Independence/Democracy), respectively by Mr. Toubon (EPP/France), Mr. Poignant (PSE/France) and Mrs. Carlotti (PSE/France), Mrs. De Sarnez (ALDE/France), Mr. Wurtz (United Left/France) and Mr. Belder ( IND/DEM / Netherlands).

In the end, the European Parliament urged Turkey to “promote the process of reconciliation with the Armenian people by acknowledging the genocide” and called on the European Council and Commission to demand this country to “formally acknowledge the historic reality” of the Genocide.

The European Armenian Federation (EAFJD) welcomed the adoption of the Eurling Report and the three amendments clearly articulating the European consensus that Turkey must acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. “On the eve of the European Summit, heads of state must, as they chart a course for the future, take into account the democratic will of the European electorate and our elected representatives in the European Parliament,” stated Hilda Tchoboian, Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation. “This is a tremendous victory for Europeans who want to preserve European values in the face of Turkey’s ongoing denial of the Genocide,” she continued.

Since the European Parliament resolution of 1987, which set the recognition of the Armenian genocide as a precondition to the consideration of Turkish accession to the Union, the European Parliament has continuously restated this principled position in successive resolutions. This message was reinforced earlier this week by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, who called on Turkey to recognize the genocide against the Armenians. The clear consensus within European circles remains: Turkey cannot join the Union without giving up its ultra-nationalist and aggressive policy towards Armenia. European Armenians urge the upcoming meeting of the European Council to reflect the will of the European public, to honor this vote of the European Parliament, and to respect the European values on which the European project is based,” concluded the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.

The full text of the Armenia related paragraphs in the Eurling resolution are provided below.


Amendments Introduced and Adopted at the European Parliament December 15th plenary session

Amendment 80 – Bernard Poignant, Pierre Moscovici, Marie-Arlette Carlotti, Harlem D?sir, Martine Roure and others adopted by 470 against 198
EEa. whereas the Turkish authorities have likewise still not complied with the calls concerning the other Armenian issues made by Parliament in its resolution of 18 June 1987,

Amendment 18 – Francis Wurtz and Dimitrios Papadimoulis adopted by 395 against 273

34a Calls on Turkey to promote the process of reconciliation with the Armenian people by acknowledging the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians as expressed in Parliament’s earlier resolutions with regard to Turkey’s candidate status (from 18 June 1987 to 1 April 2004);

Amendment 83 – Jacques Toubon and others adopted by 332 against 325

35a. Calls on the Commission and the Council to demand that the Turkish authorities formally acknowledge the historic reality of the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians in 1915 and open the border between Turkey and Armenia at an early date, in accordance with the resolutions adopted by the European Parliament between 1987 and 2004;

Amendments first drafted and adopted by the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee later approved by the European Parliament plenary session

EE whereas the border between Turkey and Armenia has still not been re-opened by the Turkish authorities, who have thereby missed an opportunity to promote good neighbourly relations with Armenia.

7. Welcomes in particular the reform of criminal procedure, strengthening the rights of the defence; considers however that Article 305 of the new Turkish Penal Code, which sanctions alleged “threats to fundamental national interests”, and the explanatory statement of which targets freedom of expression, in particular related to the Cyprus and Armenia issues, is incompatible with the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; calls therefore for its repeal;

35. Believes that the Governments of Turkey and Armenia have to continue their process of reconciliation, possibly with the assistance of a bilateral committee of independent experts, in order to overcome explicitly the tragic experience of the past, and requests the Turkish Government to re-open the borders with Armenia as soon as possible;

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918
Armenian National Committee of America
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