BRUSSELS–The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy reports that in addition to the Turkish Parliament’s vote on a series of measures geared to show a more democratic image of the country–European Armenia’s await the adoption of more effective measures which would allow greater freedom of speech within that country.
European Armenian Federation (ANC-Europe) Chairwoman Hilda Tchoboian explained that "the timing and the circumstances of these hasty legislative measures clearly indicate that these are tactical political steps by Turkey’s government to enable its lobbyists in Europe to weaken the considerable European opposition to its membership in the European Union."
"These measures become effective only if they are enforced. It is worth noting that they could be easily be amended–at some future date–by a subsequent Parliamentary measure. If such laws had been enough to guarantee the rights of minorities–the Armenian community that remained in Turkey after the Genocide – which was theoretically protected under the Treaty of Lausanne – would not have been subjected to decades of persecution and harassment," added Tchoboian.
The Turkish Parliament’s decision to abolish the death penalty–hailed by Turkish leaders as "historic," does not address the future of the National Security Tribunal; nor does it address the Turkish Army’s stranglehold on all aspects of life–and in particular over freedom of speech.
"Unfortunately–this vote changes nothing with regard to the existence of ‘death squads,’ linked to Turkey’s military elite–which are infamous for the murderous terrorist attacks on Turkish human rights activists," continued Tchoboian.
"The European Armenian Federation regrets that the Turkish Parliament has not adopted fundamental reforms affirming the truth about the annihilation of the Armenian people and the confiscation of its territories and properties by the Turkish State," she added.
The European Armenian Federation–speaking on behalf of European Armenia’s and European movemen’s fighting Turkish denial–asserts that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide would be an unprecedented advance towards democracy in Turkey–and the establishment of peaceful relations between Armenia and Turkey. It should be noted that Turkey continues its 10 year blockade of Armenia.
"We call on the European Union–and in particular on the governmen’s of those countries whose Parliamen’s have taken a principled stand regarding the Armenian Genocide–to affirm the importance of Armenian Genocide recognition at the Copenhagen Summit in December 2002," declared Tchoboian.
It should be noted that the Turkish government recently established a national committee to fight the so-called "unfounded claims of the Armenian Genocide." This committee is set to begin revising history books dealing with this subject in 2003-2004. Its Department of Education will disseminate information denying the Genocide to students starting with the new school year this fall.
"Turkey continues its policy of denial and–having built its republic on the ashes of the Armenian people–continues to indoctrinate its youth with a deliberately falsified history," concluded Tchoboian.