By Anna Saghabalian
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian commended the European Parliament on Thursday for its renewed calls for Turkey to recognize the 1915 massacres of Armenians as genocide and normalize relations with Armenia.
A resolution adopted by the EU legislature in Strasbourg on Wednesday “calls on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide” and “considers this recognition to be a prerequisite for accession to the European Union.” It also urges Turkey to open its border with Armenia without preconditions.
“We assess that resolution positively and consider it natural,” said Oskanian. “If Turkey wants to be a member of the European Union, it must behave like an EU country. That means it must have open borders with Armenia and openly confront its past and accept what happened in 1915.”
Ankara’s reaction to the non-binding resolution was diametrically opposite, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that it will not affect his government’s position on the issue. Turkey is expected to start its long-awaited accession talks with the EU on Monday.
Yerevan wants the EU make Turkey’s membership conditional on the recognition of the Armenian genocide and the lifting of the blockade imposed on Armenia in 1993. But EU officials say while the Armenian demands will be on the agenda of the accession talks, they are not a precondition for Turkish entry into the union.