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EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: TURKEY MUST RECOGNISE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE AS BASIS FOR RECONCILIATION WITH ARMENIA 02/28/2002
 Per Gahrton
In a landmark vote, the European Parliament today adopted a resolution on EU policy in the Caucasus in which it reaffirmed that Turkey must recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915 before it can join the European Union, as initially stated by Parliament in 1987. The resolution also calls upon Turkey to lift is blockade of Armenia.

"Turkey is a recognized candidate to join the EU since 1999", said Nicolas Tavitian, Director of the EU office of the FAAE. "It is now clear that the position it established long ago, in 1987, still holds. If Parliament has its way, Turkey cannot join the EU unless it ends its campaigns of denial of the Armenian genocide and makes its peace with history. We hope the Turkish government will hear this principled message and 'create the basis for reconcilation' as called for by the European Parliament."

The text adopted today was proposed to Parliament by Swedish Green MEP Per Gahrton. An amendment to delete the mention relating to the genocide was defeated by the overwhelming majority of 391 votes to 96.

The vote came after a long campaign of information and explanation by Armenian groups on the contemporary implications of the Armenian genocide for peace in the Caucasus. The EU office of the Forum of Armenian Associations, CDCA and the representatives of the Republic of Armenia in particular cooperated closely in the first joint effort of its kind at the European level. The bulk of the effort of educating decision-makers however was carried out by Armenian communities and associations throughout Europe.

By coincidence, the debate on the Armenian genocide took place shortly after a discussion on the International Criminal Court in which a number of speakers, including EU Commissioner for enlargement Günther Verheugen, repeated that "there can be no peace without justice". A principle no doubt carried over into the debate on peace in the Caucasus.

Forum of Armenian Associations in Europe
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