PARIS (Combined Sources)–Close to 2,000 Armenia’s gathered in Paris on Sunday to seek a delay in the start of European Union (EU) accession negations with Turkey.
In a letter to French President Jacques Chirac–organizers pointed to Turkey’s poor human rights record and its denial of the Armenian genocide–adding that the country is far from adopting and implementing European standards.
The rally was organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–the Hunchagian–and Ramgavar political parties.
As a means to stop Turkey’s accession–the Armenian community in France–some 400,000-strong–has been expected to lean towards a ‘no’ vote on adopting the EU constitution. A nationwide referendum in France has been scheduled for May 29. Community leaders have insisted that France urge Turkey to acknowledge the 1915 genocide as part of the accession talks.
Armenia’s foreign minister Vartan Oskanian said though he could understand concerns of French Armenia’s–a "No" vote would nevertheless bring about a decreased French role and influence in Europe.
"Armenia has–too–expressed its concerns over Turkey’s failure to meet a set of EU membership requiremen’s–particularly its persistent denial of the Armenian genocide and the blockade of Armenia–but we do not see any connection between the European Constitution and Turkey’s EU membership," Oskanian said.
But polls released over the past two weeks indicate opposition to the treaty is likely. According to a poll by Ipsos published in Le Figaro 51 percent of decided voters would reject the European Constitution.