"IF–FOR THE SAKE OF ‘PRAGMATISM,’ SOME ILL-INFORMED INDIVIDUALS SUGGEST THAT ARMENIA RENOUNCE ITS POSITION ON THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AND/OR THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION OF THE PEOPLE OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH (AS TURKEY DEMANDS)–IT ONLY REINFORCES THE FACT THAT THIS BLOCKADE IS INDEED AN ACT OF POLITICAL BLACKMAIL BY TURKEY. . . " EUROPEAN ARMENIAN FEDERATION FOR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY
BRUSSELS–On April 3–the European Parliament held a conference–titled "Armenia-Turkey: 10 Years of Blockade" hosted by Joost Lagendijk (Greens–Netherlands)–co-chairman of the EU- Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee–and Per Gahrton (Greens–Sweden)–author of the 2002 report on "The European Union’s Relations with the South Caucasus," reported the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (formerly ANC of Europe).
The conference included presentations by Kaan Soyak–co-chairman of the Turkey-Armenia Business Development Council (TABDC)–as well as Burcu Gltekin and Nicolas Tavitian–co-authors of a report titled "The Closed Doors of the East".
During his short talk–Soyak focused on the economic losses resulting from Turkey’s "closed border" policy regarding Armenia. He reinforcing Tavitian’s assessment that "from a legal point of view–it is not really a blockade." Mr. Soyak hailed the provisional version of the Oostlander report recently published–and in particular–the paragraph calling on "Turkish and Armenian academics–social organizations and NGOs to embark on a dialogue with each other–or to continue existing dialogues–to finally put their past differences behind them." He argued that the TABDC is an active participant in this process–and discussed the various initiatives that he credits his organization for.
Gltekin and Tavitian presented their brief report–followed by Lagendijk’s closing in which he mentioned "we should not focus on the past but on the future." On the genocide issue–he concluded that it involved "two versions of history that are mutually exclusive and the main purpose of the European Parliament is not to aggravate the situation."
During the discussions that followed–a representative of the Turkish delegation to the European Union referred to the 1915-1923 atrocities as a "so-called genocide." The reference elicited no indignation among the parliamentarians present.
On behalf of the European Armenian Federation–Executive Director Laurent Leylekian–openly criticized the general spirit of a meeting where "a country that blockades one of its neighbors–threatens to invade Iraq and oppresses its minorities is described as a key security axis."
"Those who are quick to teach pragmatism to the Armenia’s are putting the cart before the horse. The blockade of Armenia is Turkey’s unjustified unilateral sanction against its neighbor; it must be lifted without any preconditions," declared Leylekian. "If–for the sake of ‘pragmatism,’ some ill-informed individuals suggest that Armenia renounce its position on the Armenian Genocide and/or the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh (as Turkey deman’s)–it only reinforces the fact that this blockade is indeed an act of political blackmail by Turkey–an act that no sovereign nation can accept"–he added.
"Moreover–we are convinced that the measures promoted by the TABDC and its agents–are uniquely intended to soften the European Parliament’s position on Turkey’s responsibility for the Armenian Genocide. We urge the EU not to fall into this trap again"–stated Leylekian.
"In 2001–the Lamassoure report on Turkey exposed TARC as a tool to make the European Parliament soften its position on the Armenian Genocide. The Soyak operation must not be allowed to serve the same purpose regarding the Oostlander report by resurrecting the idea of a so-called Turkish-Armenian dialogue; The record shows that these operations are simply to cover up the truth that Turkey has never shown any intention to deal openly and honestly with the genocide and blockade issues," concluded the Director of the European Armenian Federation.