04 March 2006

522) Behind-the-Scenes of a Genocide Resolution

This fascinating account of the 1987 European Parliament Armenian Genocide Resolution exposes what really lies behind such exercises in pseudo-morality, and it's obvious the forces driving such resolutions have nothing to do with the truth.

How ironic the French are so unshakeable in their genocide beliefs, when the French, along with their WWI British and Russian allies, bore a huge responsibility in the tragedy the Armenians would go on to suffer. What did they think would happen to the Ottoman-Armenians, when Boghos Nubar negotiated with the French to allow Armenians to join the Entente, since they "indignantly refused to side with Turkey"? Ottoman-Armenians who fought in Musa Dagh were not picked up by the French because, as the story goes, the Armenians hung out a bedsheet with a cross painted in it.

Yet, the French are as sanctimonious as ever. Their politicians are beholden to the Armenian Diaspora, no different than American politicians. These people need to be ashamed, allowing themselves to be so taken over by their ugly prejudices.


THE TALE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT’S 1987 RESOLUTION ENTITLED “POLITICAL SOLUTION TO THE ARMENIAN QUESTION”



Pulat TACAR[1]
Ambassador Retired Turkish Forum Advisory Board Member

ABSTRACT:

Recently the basis of the1987 Resolution of the Parliament that accepted the genocide allegations committed towards the Ottoman Armenians in 1915, Vandemeulebroucke Report, illegally came to the agenda of the General Council although rejected with the votes of the Political Committee. This report was later approved through intimidation of those parliamentarians opposing the report and the draft of resolution. The resolution is a political maneuver of those politicians who want to slander and exclude Turkey from Europe, by making it a condition for the full membership of Turkey to the European Union. Turkey should maintain that genocide is a legal concept and should stress the impossibility of declaring someone of being a criminal before the decision of the competent court. In doing that, Turkey should bring the issue to the agenda of the Turkey-European Parliament Joint Parliamentary Commission and defend her views in order to state that there is no legal way for suspects to be accused of committing the crime of genocide.

Key Words: European Parliament, Armenian Diaspora, Ottoman Armenians, France, Armenian Terror

I was appointed as the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the European Union in November 1984. During my three-year service, each month, I spent one week in Strasbourg, except for the months of August when the European Parliament (EP) did not convene. I participated in the EP meetings and discussed several issues with the members of the EP. In that period, Turkey was brought to the agenda of nearly all of the EP meetings; many reports were written and many resolutions were adopted regarding Turkey and in almost all of them Turkey was criticized and condemned.

After my appointment, the first problem about the relations with the EP was the initiative of the French members of the Parliament in order to make the EP adopted a resolution recognizing the claim of the ‘Armenian genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915’.


Pres. Pierre Plimlin,
exercising classic
French arrogance

I went to the EP and met with its President, Pflimlin, in December 1984. At the beginning of our conversation, he asked me why Turkey had not accepted the so-called ‘genocide’. His discourse resembled a discourse used in a conversation between an employer and employee or between the strong and the weak. During my three and a half year embassy work in Indonesia, I was treated quite well by the Indonesian political elite because of their admiration towards Turkey and its founder, Atatürk. Earlier, I had experienced multilateral diplomacy in the International Atomic Energy Agency for nine years. Such a style, as I was exposed to at the EP, which I had never witnessed before, disturbed me seriously. Later, I would perceive that the diplomacy of European integration developed a sui generis style regarding the communication of the European Communities’ institutions with the member and candidate states. It was necessary to use this style as soon as possible. But, let me turn to my first meeting with President Pflimlin.



Pulat Yuksel Tacar

I thought that I had to stay calm against the disturbing style of the President towards a partner state’s ambassador, which was not in accordance with the diplomatic customs, while I should not give up my firm stance. He was a lawyer, thus I should bring the issue to that field. I told him that the concept of ‘genocide’ emerged with the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and it should not be used so carelessly. I added that without any decision by a competent court or any other judicial authority, one could not be accused of any crime; and this was a rule not only in Turkey but also in France. I also said that the European Communities had established a judicial framework and it was expected from the President of EP not to act contrary to international law. I added that Turkey had accepted the 1948 Convention and transformed it as a part of internal law, thus it was impossible to breach our internal laws. What is more, I said that many Turkish diplomats had been victims of Armenian terror and this conversation – according to me — was carried out under the shadow of these awful murders. My remarks disturbed him and he said that he also condemned terrorism, he loved the Turks and he had many Turkish friends. Then he tried to bring the conversation to the political field, and said that accepting the so-called genocide would only glorify Turkey while Turkey could not be held responsible for the events occurred prior to its foundation. I told him I believed that it was unfair to voice the atrocities suffered solely by the non-Muslims residing within the multicultural Ottoman society while overlooking the Muslim Ottomans that were killed. He stated that the French society was very sensitive with respect to this issue. I replied by stating that I knew this subject quite well, and added that in the 1920’s, Armenians were sent to war at Çukurova having been dressed up in French uniform, and that previously Ottoman Armenians were dressed up in Tsarist Russian uniform. I told him that the Armenian representative participating in the Sevres negotiations, Bogos Nubar, stated that they were the belligerent party and that when France was retreating from Çukurova he brought a part of the ‘Anatolian Armenian soldiers’ to France. I told him that there existed at cemeteries in France memorial graves for ‘the Armenians that perished for the French’, and that for this reason I was not surprised that he felt close to Armenians. I added that I was against a one-sided review of history, that my aim was not to remind him of certain passages of history he may not want to read or the existence of which he may not know of. I said that I just wanted to make a courtesy visit to the President of the European Parliament and added that if he wanted more detailed information on this topic, I was ready to provide for it in the future.

During this visit, the French openly put forth how they were resolute about bringing the Armenian question before the European Parliament. Their first initiative was made in 1981, with French Parliamentarian Jacquet’s draft entitled “The Condition of the Armenian People”[2]. Thereafter, a draft carrying the signature of French Parliamentarian Miss Duport and Belgium Parliamentarian Glinne was presented on behalf of the Socialist Group.[3] On behalf of the new EP’s Socialist Group elected as of June 1984, French Parliamentarian Saby and his friends renewed the Armenian draft.

At the beginning of 1984, Israel, the French Parliamentarian who was appointed to write a report on the Armenian issue, resigned from this assignment. I believe that the Jewish lobby, which did not want to share the characteristic of being victims of genocide with the Armenians, influenced him. Upon Monsieur Israel’s refusal, this time an agreement was made with Belgian Parliamentarian Mr. Vandemeulebroucke who, at that time, was a member of the Vlamski Block party known for being extreme-rightist, nationalist and racist. I invited Vandemeulebroucke for lunch in the days following his appointment as a reporter in January 1985. I stressed that we were prepared to submit all the information and documents he wanted on the topic on which he was to write a report, and stated that he could meet with all pertinent individuals and officials including the Armenian community by coming to Turkey and that he could conduct research in our archives. I told him that we expected him to be objective and include allegations as well as counter-arguments in his report. I added that we expected his prospective report would help heal the deep wound inflicted on the Turkish and world public’s conscience as a result of the bloody activities carried out by terrorist groups voicing that they acted on behalf of the Armenians. I told him that this report carried the prospect of aiding in the creation of an atmosphere of mutual dialogue and understanding between the Armenians and Turks. I stated — upon his question — that we do not expect anybody to suppress his memory or disregard tragic events of the past. I added that the report also needed to include passages of history that certain historians and politicians denied, and that I desired all pages of history and the causes of events to be evaluated together. Otherwise, people would be constrained to read history for personal satisfaction or to reinforce their prejudices. Furthermore, I explained the basic elements of the Genocide Convention, and pointed out to my counterpart that he was not a competent judge, prosecutor, nor lawyer. I added that the European Parliament was not a court and stated that genocide was a legal term. I also said that this crime could be carried out by individuals; therefore, it was not in line with justice for a politician to write a report on a legal matter as if it were handing down a sentence without listening to the pleas of the defendants none of whom are alive today. Upon my counterpart stating how he heard that the massacres inflicted upon the Armenians went unpunished and that he wanted to analyze this matter, I explained how approximately 1300 Ottoman leaders were tried for wrongdoings during the relocation, a big portion of which was tried by the Courts set up during the Committee for Unity and Progress period, some were executed, and some were deported to Malta but set free due to the lack of evidence. During this first meeting, my counterpart accepted our invitation stated that he would come to Turkey, and wanted us to be sure that he would be objective.

However, The Belgian Parliamentarian never came to our country, nor explained why he did not. As time passed, it became more apparent that the reporter was acting on behalf of the diaspora. He did not accept to meet me in his room and during our discussions carried out in the Parliament’s canteen there was always a “party commissar” accompanying him, who listened to our conversations without uttering a word. I told the reporter that he took upon himself an important duty, since his prospective report could serve to bring the Turks and Armenians together. I insistently requested for the report to contribute to a culture of peace, not to a culture rancor and revenge, and gave him books and documents to be put to use in his report. As time passed, information started to reach us through indirect ways regarding the points that he elaborated in his report. Within this information there existed documents, the fraudulence of which were ascertained, and factitious assertions such as the genocide claim that was accepted by The United Nations Economic and Social Council, Human Rights Sub-Committee. We analyzed all of this material and prepared counter documents, approximately 200 pages in length. We distributed these documents to the Belgian reporter and also to the other parliamentarians. We observed a group of parliamentarians throwing away the documents they retrieved from their post boxes into a big trash box next to the document distribution section, without reading them, as the parliamentarians did not have the time to read those documents that did not fall within their own areas of priority. Everyday they received a heavy load of letters and documents. Also, during that period, a group of European parliamentarians came to Strasbourg on Mondays, signed the attendance registry, and then returned. They came again on Fridays to sign the registry again, and they took their daily payments as if they were present the whole week. This resulted in the overflow of their post-boxes.






Those elected to the European Parliament that term, with the exception of 50-60 of them, were second class politicians who could not be elected to their national parliaments. Due to these observations we made, we figured out that it would be of greater use to send the information and documents we wanted to deliver not to the parliamentarians themselves, but to their political assistants and in fact to the advisors of the political groups they were affiliated with, both of which we got in touch with as well. During that period, I discussed this issue with approximately 100 European parliamentarians face to face. During these discussions, excluding the French parliamentarians, they stated that they understood our views but that the subject matter was a problem having top priority amongst the French members of the European Parliament. They stated that the Greeks supported the French and that the reciprocal concessions granted and balances formed in Parliament left no possibility of going against this demand of the French. As a matter of fact, this subject carried no priority for the other European parliamentarians. Furthermore, they pointed out how there existed a wide spread conviction among Europe that in 1915 the Armenians were subjected to a grave massacre and that we should not pay much attention to political resolutions taken by the European Parliament that was not binding such as the one in question. The main justification of those who were opposing the matter being taken up by the EP, stemmed from how the parliament was not a place to try history, and from how they were against distorting the past for political motives. Those in opposition displayed resistance towards the matter not as a result of its essence but out of procedure. They either were unaware or did not attribute much importance to the sufferings of the Ottoman Muslims who encountered the same hardships during that period, such as the Van massacre in April 1915 inflicted by Armenian armed units. French parliamentarians adopted a highly unreliable attitude, and were voicing how this issue was a domestic political problem, and that it did not target Turkey. Their prejudices on this matter were deeply entrenched; they did not even want to hear any counter arguments.

I should point out that during that period, I meticulously analyzed social-psychology books on opinion formation and alteration techniques, and benefited greatly from this inquiry. Due to our profession also entailing the persuasion of one’s counterpart, I believe it would be highly useful to teach social psychology to all young diplomats.


Pulat Tacar in 2001,
combating Kurdish
propaganda-accepting
Europeans (a Swede,
Peter Curman, mainly
accepting the word of
a Kurd living in
Sweden, Mehmed
Uzun), in Montreal

Let us return to our topic. To my mind, the Vandemeulebroucke report was drafted by the Armenian diaspora. It was full of biased and erroneous information. The report was presented to the Political Committee of the European Parliament. At the Committee’s meeting held in The Hague, the main justification that the EU was not a historical institution and was not competent to try history took over and the report was rejected by a single vote. In fact, as I personally listened to the meeting’s recordings, I have no doubt that the Political Committee’s Chairman (Italian) Formigoni, held the voting twice —to avoid any mistakes— and that the outcome of both was rejection. The recordings of the meeting were presented to us on the same day by an official present in the room where the meeting was held. According to the procedural by-law, the rejection of a report in a Committee through voting necessitated that it be dropped from the agenda and that the matter would not be dealt with again. Actually the Chairman of the Committee had drawn attention to this fact before the matter was subjected to a vote. However, when so desired, issues were not taken up in a fashion falling in line with law at the European Parliament, alleged to be a legal institution. It was a political arena and all kinds of maneuvers were deemed legitimate. Due to the Turkish parliamentarians not being members of the European Parliament, our adversaries had an advantage. Pressure was exerted upon the Committee’s Chairman for the report to be reassessed. However, the Chairman Formigoni resisted such pressures towards this end and stated that the report was put to a vote and that this case is closed. This time, they waited for Formigoni’s tenure to come to an end. He was replaced by another Italian, {Sergio} Ercini. I knew Ercini as well, he was unreliable, would smile to your face but carry out deeds of a contrary nature behind your back. We overheard that the report was brought to the agenda of the Political Committee once again — as if it were a fresh issue— by the new Chairman. Fellow parliamentarians wanted to bring the issue to the By-law Committee. The By-law Committee rejected this appeal.

On the other hand, the Political Committee’s new Chairman Ercini once again brought the Vandemeulebroucke report to the fore. As a result of the efforts of German Klaus Haensch —a member of the Political Committee and who thereafter was the President of the European Parliament— references made to the genocide were removed from the draft resolution pertaining to the report. The French initially opposed this. Subsequently, when the General Assembly convened, they conceded to the changes made at the Committee, presuming that they could insert whatever wordings they desired through various motions for amendment. A group of members of the Political Committee who had voted against the report at the first meeting came to me and stated that they were being threatened, and added that they would not take part in the meeting where the votes would be cast and what was being carried out went against all the rules. The report and draft resolution were passed from the Political Committee and were brought to the General Assembly. On 18 July 1987 the European parliament was encircled by Armenians, coming from various locations. One evening the groups of Armenians who went down town placed up notices at the corner of every street. The French police took no measures. Very few parliamentarians had participated in the session. During the Parliament’s session, the French parliamentarians who ascended a platform that was placed outside, explained what was going on inside to those demonstrators waiting under the rain. They applauded those who supported the Armenian thesis and heckled those who did not. The terrorists that seeped into Parliament threatened certain parliamentarians, for example when German Wedekind had the floor he disclosed that he had been threatened with a gun, that this was a scandal and stated that under these conditions this matter could not be dealt with. French parliamentarian and member of the Socialist Group Miss Pery, who was deliberately chosen to hold the presidential chair of that session, turned a deaf ear on these developments. The very same person, during a lunch break, acting in contravention of the rules of the procedural by-law, and despite all objections, passed a resolution in the General Assembly where approximately 40 people were present, denouncing the military operation carried out by Turkey towards the PKK terrorists. To sum up, everything unraveled according to the scenario construed by the French parliamentarians who were taking directives from the Armenian diaspora. Almost all of the strict amendments proposed during the session of General Assembly regarding Vandemeulebroucke report entitled “A Political Solution to the Armenian Question” and the pertinent draft resolution were adopted and in this fashion the resolution was accepted by the European Parliament. For me and for those who are aware of the realities I explained above, this resolution is a shame for the European Parliament and is of less worth than a piece of dirty tissue paper. Now let me try to summarize and curtly evaluate the points incorporated in the resolution endorsed by the European Parliament. This exercise shall help us understand the expectations and stance against Turkey of those who prepared the draft resolution and of those who made alterations to it of a stricter nature. As additions were made to the draft resolution during the General Assembly the final text is of a highly complex nature. The ensuing analysis deals with the same topic, yet I brought together various articles which do not succeed one another in the text and added sub-headings.



Genocide and Consequences of Its Recognition



The Armenian side regards these events as planned genocide within the meaning of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

The Turkish State rejects the charge of genocide as unfounded.

(In the first text, perceptions of two sides were given separately in these two paragraphs, thus a balance was provided. With the inclusion of the following paragraph to the resolution of the European Parliament, it was shown that the events had been believed to be genocide.)

[European Parliament] believes that the tragic events in 1915-1917 involving the Armenians living in the territory of the Ottoman Empire constitute genocide within the meaning of the convention on the prevention and the punishment of the crime of genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948; Recognizes, however, that the present Turkey cannot be held responsible for the tragedy experienced by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and stresses that neither political nor legal or material claims against present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this historical event as an act of genocide. (The expression of “…neither political nor legal or material claims against present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this historical event as an act of genocide” implies that the consequences of recognition is not material. However, the representatives of the Armenian organizations state that the recognition of genocide would have consequences regarding compensation and the Turkish governments must be held responsible for the payment of it. In the meetings that I attended after the adoption of the resolution, there were parliaments, which tried to attract my attention that only the verb ‘believe’, instead of ‘recognize’ was used in the resolution; they claimed that they could succeed to prevent recognition by this usage.

In my opinion, the European Parliament interpreted the 1948 Convention wrong and acted contrary to it. Because, only a competent court, not a political body such as the European Parliament could decide whether there is the crime of genocide. If this wrong interpretation was to be done by one of the governments, which was a party to the Convention, other parties to the Convention would have the right to apply to the International Court of Justice with the legal ground that there was a mistake of procedure if not substance.)






The historically proven Armenian genocide has so far neither been the object of political condemnation nor received due compensation

(With this paragraph, the concept of genocide, which is a legal concept, is excluded from the legal framework and put into a historical and political structure. By stating that the genocide is historically proven, the arguments of some historians recognizing the 1915-16 events as genocide were accepted as evidence, while opposite views were simply disregarded. Today the same approach continues. For example, those scholars who argue that these events can not be accepted as genocide (such as Justin McCarthy, Bernard Lewis, and Stanford Shaw) are accused of being Turkish agents; their works are denied; they are not invited to the scientific (!) conferences that the other side organize; even expression of their views are feared. Moreover the expression of ‘due compensation’ simply contradicts with the former paragraph articulating that “…neither political nor legal or material claims against present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this historical event as an act of genocide”. Those who demanded compensation tried to be satisfied with the ‘due compensation’)

The Turkish Government, by refusing to recognize the genocide of 1915, continues to deprive the Armenian people of the right to their own history.

(With this paragraph Turkey was demanded to take some steps to cure the ‘psychological crises’ of the Armenians. In the former paragraphs the years ‘1915-1917’ are stated, whereas here only ‘1915’ is written. The claim of the Armenian Diaspora that Turkey is responsible for all the problems of Armenians is reflected here as well. Otherwise it is impossible for a state to deprive another state to read, understand and evaluate its own history.)






The recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey must therefore be viewed as a profoundly humane act of moral rehabilitation towards the Armenians, which can only bring honor to the Turkish Government

[European Parliament] calls on the Council to obtain from the present Turkish Government as acknowledgment of the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians in 1915-1917 and promote the establishment of a political dialogue between Turkey and the representatives of the Armenians.

(Here again the period of genocide is expressed as the years 1915-1917, thus the massacres committed by the Armenians much later, particularly during the War of Liberation, is excluded. However, the Van Massacre of April 1915 is forgotten as well since the blame is tried to be put on the Russian army, commanded by Armenians who were former deputies of the Ottoman Parliament. The Council, on the other hand, did not act in accordance with the EP’s demand and there was no initiative on this issue towards Turkey. The expression of ‘representatives of Armenians’, implies not the Republic of Armenia, which had not been an independent state at that time, but the Armenian Diaspora. Some of them openly supported the Armenian terror both financially and morally.)

Armenian Terrorist Activities – Establishment of Jewish-Armenian Connection

[European Parliament] profoundly regrets and condemns the mindless terrorism by groups of Armenians who were responsible between 1973 and 1986 of several attacks causing death or injury to innocent victims and deplored by an overwhelming majority of the Armenian people.

[European Parliament] condemns strongly any violence and any form of terrorism carried out by isolated groupings unrepresentative of the Armenian people, and calls for reconciliation between Armenians and Turks.

The obdurate stance of every Turkish Government towards the Armenian question has in no way helped to reduce the tension.

[European Parliament] calls on the Community Member States to dedicate a day to the memory of the genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the 20th century, specifically against the Armenians and Jews.

(These four paragraphs reflect the balance within the European Parliament. In the first of them, Armenian terrorism is condemned, while this condemnation is somehow moderated with the expression that these events are individual acts. In the third paragraph, it is implied that these acts of terror have a reason. The attitude of European televisions, radios and press right after the Armenian terror was not much different. They perceived these events as an opportunity to reflect Armenian allegations. Those European parliamentarians, whom I met, argued that this was a text of compromise and it was aimed to satisfy the French and the Greek; and they ‘laughed’!)



Package Paragraphs Condemning Turkey




The refusal by the present Turkish Government to acknowledge the genocide against the Armenian people committed by the Young Turk government, its reluctance to apply the principles of international law to its differences of opinion with Greece, the maintenance of Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus and the denial of existence of the Kurdish question, together with the lack of true parliamentary democracy and the failure to respect individual and collective freedoms, in particular freedom of religion, in that country are insurmountable obstacles to consideration of the possibility of Turkey's accession to the Community.

(This paragraph is a package paragraph. The European Parliament filled whatever it founded about Turkey into this package. Moreover, it reflects the negative attitude towards Turkish application for membership to the European Communities in April 1987. The interesting thing is that the European Parliament mentions ‘insurmountable obstacles’.)

Conscious of those past misfortunes, [European Parliament] supports its desire for the development of a specific identity, the securing of its minority rights and the unrestricted exercise of its people's human and civil rights as defined in the European Convention of Human Rights and its five protocols

(This is also a package paragraph in which the‘civilizing’ mission of Europe is reflected.)


The Rights of the Non-Muslim Minorities in Turkey and Their Cultural Heritage



[European Parliament] calls on Turkey in this connection to abide faithfully by the provisions for the protection of the non-Muslim minorities as stipulated in Articles 37 to 45 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne which, moreover, was signed by most Member States of the Community

(Whenever a report, a draft or a question regarding Turkey came to the agenda of the European Parliament, anti-Turkish Greek parliamentarians perceived this as an opportunity to denigrate Turkey. This paragraph was put into the text as a result of the Greek demands.)

[European Parliament] calls for fair treatment of the Armenian minority in Turkey as regards their identity, language, religion, culture and school system, and makes an emphatic plea for improvements in the care of monuments and for the maintenance and conservation of the Armenian religious architectural heritage in Turkey and invites the Community to examine how it could make an appropriate contribution

[European Parliament] considers that the protection of monuments and the maintenance and conservation of the Armenian religious architectural heritage in Turkey must be regarded as part of a wider policy designed to preserve the cultural heritage of all civilizations which have developed over the centuries on present-day Turkish territory and, in particular, that of the Christian minorities that formed part of the Ottoman Empire

[European Parliament] calls therefore on the Community to extend the Association Agreement with Turkey to the cultural field so that the remains of Christian or other civilizations such as the ancient classical, Hittite, Ottoman, etc., in that country are preserved and made generally accessible.

(These three paragraphs are taken from different parts of the resolution. In preparing the first paragraph, the views of the Armenian community in Turkey was not addressed. This paragraph only reflects the demands of the Armenian Diaspora. In this respect, the advices of the representatives of Armenian community in Turkey were disregarded both by the reporter and the European Parliament. Greek parliamentarians who were discontent of the reference to the Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey, and other parliamentarians who supported them, tried to transform the question into a question of Christian heritage by adding a reference to the whole Christian heritage.)



Armenians in Iran and Soviet Union



[European Parliament] condemns the violations of individual freedoms committed in the Soviet Union against the Armenian population.

[European Parliament] expresses its concern at the difficulties currently being experienced by the Armenian community in Iran with respect to the Armenian language and their own education in accordance with the rules of their own religion.

(These paragraphs were included by the demand of the Armenian Diaspora)


Final Provisions


[European Parliament] instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the European Council, the Foreign Ministers meeting in political cooperation, the EEC/Turkey Association Council and the Turkish, Iranian and Soviet Governments and the UN Secretary General


Patrick Devedjian is the "first Armenian
member of the French government,"
according to an Armenian site. (Ironically,
even the Ottoman Empire had Armenians in
government way earlier.) On the monsieur's
own web page, we learn that his father, born
in Sivas (Turkey),"had to emigrate to France
because of the Armenian genocide." (His
mom's French.)

(European Communities did not take any action in line with this paragraph. The issue was brought to the agenda of the European Parliament several times. Political authorities of the Republic of Armenia think that Turkey could not be a full member of the European Union without recognizing the Armenian genocide. It is argued that some French Parliamentarians and Patrick Deveciyan, a French Minister, assured them about that. Within this context French and German newspapers wrote that during the meeting of French Interior Minister, Nicholas Sarkosy, and the leader of the German CDU party, Angela Merkel, on the prevention of Turkish full membership, the Armenian question came to the agenda and German recognition of the Armenian genocide was in line with this policy.)


Conclusion



In the resolution adopted on September 2005, European Parliament stated that recognition of 1915 events as genocide is a precondition for Turkish full membership to the European Union. Although it is argued that the resolutions of the European Parliament are not binding, in the final stage, European Parliament will approve Turkish membership and before that it will bring these resolutions to the agenda. In order to reduce tension, Turkey should seek an immediate dialogue with the European Parliament. In addition to our discourse which stipulates that the archives should be opened, the Armenian question should be left to the historians and a joint commission should be established; Turkey should explain why 1915 events can not legally be accepted as genocide.

The attitude of the Turkish governments and the majority of the Turkish people are still perceived by the Europeans as a ‘denial’. However, the legal, psychological and historical reasons of this attitude can not be explained well. On the other hand, Turkish media argued that the resolution adopted by the German Parliament recognized Armenian genocide; while German Parliament especially avoided using the term ‘recognition of genocide’. Although not approving this resolution, I think that this was a significant detail, because if the claim of genocide could be drawn out of the equation, it would be possible that these events would be examined more objectively by those who had developed an opinion on this matter. At least, they could accept that other interpretations are possible.

The institution that Turkey could initiate a dialogue with the European Parliament and other parliaments is the Turkish Grand National Assembly and its EP-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission. Within this framework the following themes should be stressed:

a.. The concept of genocide is a legal concept,

b.. It is impossible to try the suspects of these events, all of whom are not alive, without their presence and to declare that they committed the crime of genocide,

c.. The elements of the crime of genocide and the authority to decide on this matter is defined in the 1948 Convention

d.. This Convention should be examined carefully

e.. Those parliaments, which had acted contrary to the Convention, might be referred to the International Court of Justice.

f.. 1915 events were a tragedy both for Armenians and the Muslim population, and this reality is undeniable

g.. Necessary precautions should be taken to prevent similar events in the future and education should be given primacy

h.. However, regarding a subject of international and internal criminal issue, a government can not be forced to adopt a political decision. This is contrary to the basic premises of the international law such as equity.

i.. Even if such a decision is adopted, it can not be accepted by the Turkish nation

j.. Regarding ethical and moral responsibility, every individual or group can form an opinion based on historical data, and they should be free to express this opinion.

k.. One can not expect to erase the memory of a group of people

l.. However, historical data should not be gathered selectively.

m.. It is impossible to force others to accept the established dogmas and insistence on that matter will create new conflicts.

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[1] Rtd. Ambassador, Vice-President of UNESCO-Turkey National Commission

[2] Doc. No. 1 782/81

[3] Doc. No. 1-735/83

----------------------------------------------------
© Holdwater

The source site of this article gets revised often, as better
information comes along. For the most up-to-date version,
the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows:

www.tallarmeniantale.com/Euro-1987res.htm
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