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05/02/2005
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1) Members of Congress Mark 90th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide in Floor
Speeches
2) Parliament Head Reviews Status of Armenian Churches with Georgian
Patriarch
3) Turkey Claims Professor to be Red Listed after Denying Armenian Genocide
4) Schroeder Warns Turkey Not to Go Back on Reforms
5) Possibly Kocharian-Erdogan May Meeting

1) Members of Congress Mark 90th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide in Floor
Speeches

WASHINGTON, DC (ANCA)--Over forty Senators and Representatives joined
Armenians
around the world this week in commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the
Armenian genocide, during "Special Order" remarks on the House floor and
statements in the Senate--made in the weeks surrounding April 24.
Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) organized the
April 26 House commemoration, providing Representatives an opportunity to
offer
5-minute statements in remembrance of the atrocities committed by the Ottoman
Turkish Government from 1915-1923. Senators and House Members also submitted
additional statements in the days surrounding April 24. "We want to extend our
appreciation to Congressman Pallone for his leadership once again this year in
hosting the Armenian Genocide Special Order on the House side," said Armenian
National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We thank, as
well, the many Representatives and Senators who offered remarks and attended
commemorations--here in Washington and around the nation."
During their statements, many Senators and Representatives spoke forcefully
about the importance of ending US complicity in Turkey's continued campaign of
Genocide denial, pledging their support for legislation that will come before
Congress on this subject. Several called for immediate US and international
action to end the genocide currently taking place in Darfur, noting that
Turkey's ability to commit genocide with impunity has set a dangerous
precedent
for worldwide genocide prevention efforts. The Congressional Armenian Caucus
Co-Chairman noted, "As we speak, the Sudanese Government is taking a page out
of the Turkish Government's denial playbook and continuing the vicious
cycle of
genocide denial in what is happening in Darfur. If we are ever to live in a
world where crimes do not go unpunished and fundamental human rights are
respected and preserved, we must come to recognize the Armenian Genocide, thus
allowing for proper reparations and restitutions to be made."


2) Parliament Head Reviews Status of Armenian Churches with Georgian
Patriarch

(PanArmenian.net)--The head of the Georgian Orthodox Church,
Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II, received Armenian National
Assembly Speaker Arthur Baghdasarian and members of an Armenian delegation on
April 29 to discuss the status of Armenian churches in Georgia and other
religious issues, reported IA Regnum.
His Holiness told journalists after the meeting that the talks were very
congenial and the parties discussed a variety of issues, including problems
tied to several churches in Georgia. "It is a dubious question. Armenians say
that those are Armenian churches, Georgians say that those are Georgian
ones.~T
The sides subsequently discussed forming joint commissions to thoroughly
review the problem.
Baghdasarian said he raised the matter of providing legal status for the
Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia and indicated that the opening of a
Georgian Church representation in Armenia is a good start in forming a solid
relationship.


3) Turkey Claims Professor to be Red Listed after Denying Armenian Genocide

HURRIYET--According to Turkish sources, Swiss authorities have placed a
Turkish
professor on their red list for his claims that there was no Armenian genocide
by Ottoman Turkey.
The step reportedly comes after Yusuf Halacoglu's insistent and public
rejection last year of the Armenian genocide, when he said that Armenians, in
fact, killed Ottomans, and claimed that "many studies had been conducted in
the
archives of several countries, and mostly in that of the Ottoman Empire, but
have not turned up a single document or record mentioning genocide."
According to Turkish sources, Switzerland has issued an order for Halacoglu's
arrest, and has undertaken steps for Interpol to prepare a "red bulletin" for
his arrest.
Switzerland~Rs Canton of Geneva adopted a resolution on December 10, 2001,
initiated by Switzerland~Rs Grand Conseil on June 25, 1998, which recognizes
with a solemn declaration the fact of the Armenian genocide of 1915. Its
Canton
of Vaud adopted a similar resolution on September 23, 2003.

4) Schroeder Warns Turkey Not to Go Back on Reforms

(scottsman.com)--German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has assured Turkey that
membership negotiations with the European Union will start as scheduled on
October 3, but has warned it must not go back on reforms, according to an
interview published in a Turkish newspaper today.
Schroeder, who has long backed Turkey's bid to join the bloc, was speaking
ahead of his trip to Turkey, which begins on Tuesday.
There have been concerns that a recent slowdown in the pace of Turkish
reforms
might derail the talks.
"It's important to continue on the path that has been chosen. Reforms,
especially in terms of basic freedoms and human and minority rights, need
to be
implemented and it needs to be made sure there's no going back on the reforms.
For this, as Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has said, there needs to be
a change in mentality. This won't be possible overnight," Schroeder was quoted
as saying.
"The negotiations will start on October 3. The conditions that Turkey must
fulfil are known. The negotiations will definitely be long and difficult. The
progress that Turkey makes in the reform process will determine to a large
extent the progress it makes in the negotiations."
At a December European Union summit, the bloc agreed to open membership talks
with Turkey. But it must sign a customs agreement that would mean de facto
recognition of the government of Cyprus--a step it has been hesitant to take.
Schroeder said a recent call by Erdogan to establish political relations with
Armenia while jointly researching the killings of Armenians during the First
World War is "a step in the right direction."
Armenia has rejected the proposal, saying that the Armenian genocide by
Ottoman Turkey is a substantiated fact.
Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamlet Gasparian criticized on April 29,
Turkey's continued insistence that scholars from both countries establish a
joint commission to determine whether the killings of an estimated 1.5 million
Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 constituted genocide
Erdogan proposed such a commission to President Robert Kocharian last
month as
a precondition for establishing formal diplomatic relations, but Kocharian
rejected it, calling instead for establishing diplomatic relations with no
preconditions. Gasparian implied that Turkey was resorting to "excuses," and
has no real desire to normalize relations with Armenia.


5) Kocharian Possibly Will Meet Erdogan in May

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--President Robert Kocharian could meet Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan later this month to discuss ways of normalizing relations
between Armenia and Turkey, his spokesman said on Monday.
Victor Soghomonian, the presidential press secretary, did not deny a Turkish
newspaper report saying that the two leaders plan to follow up on their
high-profile exchange of letters which was sparked by worldwide commemorations
of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey. But he
added that "there are no concrete agreements yet" on the venue and date of
their meeting.
Citing sources in Erdogan's office, the "Zaman" daily reported on Sunday that
the meeting is likely to take place in Warsaw on the sidelines of a summit of
Council of Europe member states scheduled for May 15-16.
A government source in Yerevan confirmed that the likelihood of the meeting
between is great.
Armenian and Turkish leaders have had sporadic face-to-face encounters in the
past but made no progress towards the improvement of bilateral ties. The
first-ever talks between Kocharian and Erdogan would inevitably address the
latter's calls for the creation of a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians
that would look into the 1915-1918 mass killings of Armenians and determine if
they constituted a genocide.
Kocharian turned down the offer, saying Ankara should instead drop
preconditions for establishing diplomatic relations with Yerevan and opening
the Turkish-Armenian border. He also suggested that the two governments set up
a commission that would tackle all issues of mutual concern.
Reacting to Kocharian's letter, Erdogan said the lifting of the Turkish
embargo is conditional on an end to the Armenian campaign for international
recognition of the genocide.


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