BRUSSELS (Combined Sources)–Hundreds of European Armenia’s demonstrated in Brussels on Friday to urge the European Union to force Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide before joining the bloc.
Organizers said that 2,500 people participated in the protest in a park several hundred meters from Brussels’ EU quarter where heads of state and government were holding a summit. An AFP journalist put the number of protestors at about 500.
"The EU must be more demanding in Turkey’s accession negotiations," said Mourad Papazian, president of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party for Western Europe. "We are not against Turkey joining, but against a Turkey that refuses to leave Cyprus, to recognize Cyprus, to recognize the Armenian genocide and Kurds’ rights," he added.
While the EU has demanded that Turkey improve the respect of human rights and recognize Cyprus, the recognition of the Armenian genocide has never been a condition for it joining.
The European Armenian Federation is of the view that by altering the essence of these negotiations from one of automatic accession to "accession or privileged partnership" is a positive move. It reopens the political debate on the key issue of whether Turkeys uniting with the Democracies of Europe is indeed a natural progression for the European Union itself.
"Even if today, the Europeans have not yet defined the clear content of what would be the "privileged partnership," we know, however, that Turkey will try to obtain a maximum of privileges from the EU and that it will confer it exorbitant leverages and that it will reinforce its economic and military power," commented Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.
The Second Convention of European Armenia’s held on October 15-16 at the European Parliament resolved to oppose relations between Turkey and the EU. The demonstration Friday, provided European citizens with the opportunity to restate their attachment to the moral value of Justice cherished by the European Union.
"Whatever the final outcome, whether it be accession or privileged partnership, the Council will have to take the responsibility to set Union ethics at the very heart of its relationship with Turkey," said Tchoboian. "We must voice our concerns to the European leaders so that they set forth the recognition of the Armenian Genocide among their deman’s."
Armenia’s Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian reaffirmed earlier this week his support for Turkey’s membership in the EU, saying that it would benefit his country. "I think it would be good for us if Turkey’s desire to become a member of the European Union were satisfied," he told the Financial Times during a visit to Brussels. "Maybe the problems between us could find a solution within an EU framework."