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      EU/TURKEY: EUROPE CAPITULATES WITHOUT CONDITIONS

EU/TURKEY: EUROPE CAPITULATES WITHOUT CONDITIONS   17/12/2004

EUROPEAN ARMENIAN FEDERATION For Justice and Democracy

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
December 17th, 2004


EU/TURKEY:  EUROPE CAPITULATES WITHOUT CONDITIONS


BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - The European Council, in a meeting earlier today in
Brussels, voted to open discussions, without any preconditions, on Turkey's
future admission to the European Union.  The process is set to begin on
October 3, 2005.

Debate preceding the European Council vote were heated, with Turkey's
failure to recognize Cyprus the primary obstacle.  The specific point of
contention was the Turkish Prime Minister's refusal to sign a draft Customs
Agreement between Turkey and the ten new members of the European
Union.  Turkey's signature would have implicitly recognized the Cypriot
State.  In the end, the European Council yielded to Turkish demands,
agreeing to postpone this signature to next October.

The Council decided to open talks with Turkey despite the fact that Turkey
fell short of meeting the clearly identified expectations of the European
Parliament, as adopted in a resolution this past Wednesday.  Among these
are calls for Turkey's recognition of the Armenian Genocide, recognition of
an independent Cyprus, progress on the Kurdish question, and human rights
concerns.  Significantly, European Council members did not even raise the
Parliament's recommendations at their meeting.

In a dramatic development that lowers the bar for Turkey's eventual
acceptance into the Union, the Council abandoned its traditional consensus
model, in which one nation could essentially veto Turkey's membership.  In
its place, they stipulated that fully one third of the EU members states
would need to object before negotiations are halted.

"These were not negotiations; this was a surrender. The idea of an
integrated Europe has been seriously compromised," declared Laurent
Leylekian, Executive Director of the European Armenian Federation.  "This
unfortunate result is due to the weakness of the European Union's political
structures and the failure of leadership on the part of European heads of
state in standing up the Ankara's inflexibility and outright rejection of
European values."

"We are, of course, gratified that our efforts over the last several years
have successfully placed the Armenian Genocide and Turkey's blockade of
Armenia on the agenda of the highest levels of discussions concerning
Turkey's possible acceptance into the European Union.  However, in light of
the failure of European leaders to stand up against Turkey's aggressive and
denialist government, we call on citizens of the European Union to
safeguard Europe's values through the exercise their democratic
rights."  added Leylekian.


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