PARLIAMENTARIAN OOSTLANDER AGREES TO AMEND HIS REPORT ON TURKEY TO INCLUDE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.
BRUSSELS–The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament reviewed on April 29 the report on the issue of Turkey’s accession to the EU–submitted by the European deputy Arie Oostlander (EPP Christian Democrat–Netherlands).
Characterized as a "balanced report" by some and as a "report rejecting Turkey’s application for membership" by others–Oostlander’s text was the subject of animated debate–eliciting a total of 283 amendment proposals. Various amendmen’s to paragraphs 34 and 35 (related to Armenian issues) were proposed by deputies from several European political parties.
Amendmen’s reinforcing the demand for Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide were proposed by Marie-Arlette Carlotti (PES French socialist)–Andr Brie (GUE-GD–German PDS)–Francis Wurtz (GUE-GD–French Communist)–Lennart Sacredeus (PPE–Swedish Christian Democrat)–Olivier Dupuis (non-attached–Italian European Radical Party) and Christos Zacharakis (PPE–Greek Christian Democrat).
Other amendmen’s attempting to weaken mention of Turkey’s embargo of Armenia were proposed by Jo Leinen (PSE–German SPD)–the delegation of Greens (Joost Lagendijk–Daniel Cohn Bendit–Matti Wuori–Per Gahrton–Marie Anne Isler-Beguin) accompanied by Andrew Nicolas Duff (ELDR–English Liberal Democrat)–Christina Gutirrez Cortines (PPE–Spanish People’s Party)–Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca (PPE–Spanish People’s Party).
Amendmen’s were also proposed to paragraph 28 of the report–which relates to the rights of religious minorities in Turkey–particularly the Holy Cross Seminary currently under threat of seizure; these amendmen’s were presented by the delegation of Greens–Olivier Dupuis–Francis Wurtz–Michael Gahler (PPE German CDU)–Marie-Arlette Carlotti–Lennart Sacredeus (PPE–Swedish christian democrat)–and Jas Gawronski (PPE Forza Italia).
In his statement–Oostlander addressed the amendment proposals–accepting some–and offering compromises or rejecting others.
He expressed intent to maintain the report’s position on the necessity–as a precondition to European Union accession–of a new constitution to replace the current one in Turkey adopted under the military regime of 1982.
On the issue of the Armenian Genocide–the rapporteur declared his approval of the amendment proposal by Christos Zacharakis that mentions the Genocide through past resolutions of the European Parliament–particularly paragraph 10 of the Morillon report (2000) and paragraph 15 of Per Gahrton’s report (2002).*
"The European Parliament’s reports on Turkey concern Armenia’s on three important and indispensable issues–none of which must escape the deputies’ vigilance," declared Hilda Tchoboian–chairperson of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy.
– Turkey’s responsibility for the Armenian Genocide–aggravated by its policy of denial that remains unique in world history;
– Turkey’s hostile policy toward neighboring Armenia–against which it imposes an economic blockade;
– Turkey’s human rights violations committed against its Armenian community," specified Tchoboian.
"This report is characterized by noteworthy candor in both form and substance. In the spirit of Mr. Oostlander’s declaration–we call on the Parliamentarians to be particularly frank with Turkey about Europe’s expectations regarding Armenian issues," concluded the chairperson of the Federation.
The European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on Arie Oostlander’s report on May 12 in Strasbourg–France. The report will then be examined and adopted by the plenary assembly.
*Paragraph 10 of the Morillon report of November 2000 calls "on the Turkish Government and the Turkish Grand National Assembly to give its support to the Armenian minority as an important part of Turkish society–in particular by public recognition of the genocide that that minority suffered before the establishment of the modern state of Turkey";
Paragraph 15 of Per Gahrton’s report of February 28–2002 stipulated that "the European Parliament calls on [Turkey] to fulfill commitmen’s to downgrade its military presence and calls on Turkey to take appropriate steps in accordance with its European ambitions–especially concerning the termination of the blockade against Armenia; reiterates in this respect the position in its resolution of 18 June 1987 recognizing the genocide upon Armenia’s in 1915."