Turkish Daily News
Sept 30 2005

Ankara raps EP for politicizing 'genocide' issue
Friday, September 30, 2005

Foreign Ministry says the controversial allegations of Armenian
genocide must be assessed by historians

ANKARA - Turkish Daily News


Turkey criticized the European Parliament yesterday for demanding
recognition of an alleged genocide against Armenians towards the end
of the Ottoman Empire as a condition for membership in the European
Union, a charge Turkey vehemently denies.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Namık Tan said a resolution the EU
assembly adopted on Wednesday `brought the alleged Armenian genocide
onto the European Parliament agenda once again' and added: `We would
like to bring to mind once again that discussion of the matter at
political platforms has been of no benefit to anyone.'

European Parliament resolutions are not binding, and none of the EU
decisions on Turkey has cited recognition of the alleged genocide as
a requisite for membership. However, the assembly's resolution came
amid sour ties between Turkey and the EU over a lingering dispute
over terms of a negotiating mandate and further exacerbated the
tension days before planned opening of accession talks on Oct. 3.

The resolution, which also demanded that Turkey recognize the Greek
Cypriot administration and open its ports and airports to traffic
from Greek Cyprus, said the Turkish authorities have not complied
with demands regarding recognition of the alleged genocide, as
expressed by the European Parliament in its resolution in June 1987.

Tan responded by noting that an appeal to the European Court of
First Instance challenging Turkey's candidacy status because of its
refusal to recognize the alleged genocide had been turned down.

The appeal to get the candidacy status cancelled was made to the
court in 2003, and applicants cited the European Parliament's 1987
resolution to justify their claims. The court, however, turned down
the application, saying European Parliament resolutions are
political, not legal documents.

`Turkey has always said disputed eras of history must be evaluated
by historians and opened its archives to researchers,' Tan said.



Bağış: Resolution is a trap:

The European Parliament resolution is being heavily criticized in
Turkey, where many denounced the move as indicative of opposition to
Turkey because it is Muslim, culturally different and relatively
poor.

`These are traps, we should not bother ourselves too much on these
things,' said Egemen Bağış, a deputy from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP).

`The European Parliament's decision is yet another obstacle put
before Turkey as we near Oct. 3. It is one of the attempts to weaken
the enthusiasm of the Turkish people concerning the EU process,'
Bağış told the Anatolia news agency.



Armenia pleased:

In Yerevan, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian welcomed the
European Parliament demand for Turkey to recognize the alleged
genocide as `positive and natural' and said Ankara must resolve its
problems with neighboring countries if it wanted to join the EU.

He said Turkey's EU process would help Turkey-Armenia relations to
normalize and claimed that the issue of opening the closed border
gate would also be raised during Turkey's accession negotiations with
the EU.