By Emil Danielyan
Armenia’s leading political parties appealed to the parliament of the European Union on Tuesday to make another reference to the 1915 Armenian genocide in its upcoming annual statement on Turkey’s progress towards EU membership. They said the European Parliament should not use the creation of the unofficial Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) as a justification for dropping a provision effectively urging Ankara to recognize the genocide.
Such a provision was included in a similar resolution approved by the Strasbourg-based legislature last year. The document, whose recommendations are not binding for the EU executive, also called on the Turkish government to establish diplomatic relations and reopen its border with Armenia.
However, this year’s draft resolution on Turkey prepared by a key standing committee of the European Parliament makes no mention of the mass killings of and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. It notes instead that the EU legislature “supports the civil initiative launched by a group of former diplomats and academics from Turkey and Armenia, the aim of which is to arrive at a common understanding of the past.”
But five parties and two non-partisan groups holding the majority of seats in the Armenian parliament countered that the TARC does not represent the majority of Armenians and therefore “can not contribute to the establishment of normal relations” between the two nations. In a joint statement, they reaffirmed their negative attitude to the private group, saying that its activities “indirectly aim to remove the fact of the Armenian Genocide from the [international] agenda.”
The European Parliament is due to discuss the issue later this week. Some of its members have already voiced objections to the proposed exclusion of a reference to the Armenian genocide and will try to amend the text during the debates, according to the Asbarez-online news service. Their amendment stipulates that the European Parliament "consider that the deepening of the dialogue on the question of the recognition of the Genocide, of which the Armenian community was a victim at the beginning of the 20th Century, constitutes an important stage of this normalization".