An official resolution drafted and presented by Raffi K. Hovannisian, the founder and chairman of the Heritage Party, to the Political Assembly of the European People’s Party held in the Belgian capital on January 22-23 was postponed until its next meeting in March.
Hovannisian said he would provide details of the proposal and decision currently not to consider or vote on the resolution, entitled “The Armenian Genocide, Turkish Responsibility, and European Values,” upon his return to Yerevan.
The text of the document reads as follows:
THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE, TURKISH RESPONSIBILITY, AND EUROPEAN VALUES
The European People’s Party, pursuant to its own platform and standards, reaffirms its recognition and condemnation of the Genocide and Great National Dispossession of the Armenian people on the eve of its 100th Anniversary on 24 April 2015.
- The Armenian Genocide, which was perpetrated by the Young Turk Government in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, is duly documented by incontrovertible evidence housed in the official archives of France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and other nations around the world. It resulted not only in the death and dispossession of more than two million human beings but also in the decimation of the Armenian patrimony, its ways of life, and its foundational contributions to Western culture and world civilization. The Genocide also extended to the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians, and Yezidi peoples.
- Today, virtually no Armenians remain upon their ancestral homelands currently incorporated in the Republic of Turkey, and since 1915 thousands of churches, monasteries, and other spiritual and secular treasures of European architectural heritage have been completely destroyed, damaged, or sent into disrepair to the extent of becoming immediately subject to the threat of disappearance.
- In spite of Turkey’s long-standing official denial of the Genocide, a happy exception to the general rule has been the recent restoration of the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island of Aghtamar in Lake Van. Hopefully, this trend will continue into the future, but it must be recorded that the Turkish authorities have converted the monastery into a museum, and but for one day per year it is closed to prayer, worship, and religious ceremony.
- Turkey is a member state of the Council of Europe subject to a full undertaking of all commitments thereto and duties thereunder, and has long sought ultimate accession to membership of the European Union. Specifically, it is a signatory of the European Cultural Convention and the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe. Despite being a party to these international treaties, Turkey continues to fail to fulfill the obligations it has assumed within their framework, in particular respect of the preservation of Armenian cultural monuments which constitute an integral part of the common European heritage.
- Taking the foregoing into account, the European People’s Party invites Turkey to take the following measures pursuant to its international commitments and the European identity to which it aspires:
a) in the finest example of integrity and leadership proffered by the Federal Republic of post-war Germany, to face history and finally recognize the ever-present reality of the Armenian Genocide and its attendant dispossession, to seek redemption and make restitution appropriate for a European country, including but not limited to ensuring a right of return of the Armenian people to, and a secure reconnection with, their national hearth―all flowing from the fundamental imperative of achieving Reconciliation through the Truth;
b) to provide a vision and an implementing plan of action worthy of a truly European Turkey, including a comprehensive resolution of issues relating to the freedom of expression and reference to the Genocide in state, society and education; and to the freedom of conscience, the unrestricted training of seminarians, and the repair of religious and other cultural sites and their return to the Armenian and other relevant communities;
c) to call on the Government of Turkey to respect and realize fully the legal obligations which it has undertaken including those provisions which relate to the protection of cultural heritage and, in particular, to conduct in good faith an integrated inventory of Armenian and other cultural heritage destroyed or ruined during the past century, based thereon to develop a strategy of priority restoration of ancient and medieval capital cities, churches, fortresses, cemeteries, and other treasures located in historic Western Armenia, and to render the aforementioned fully operational cultural and religious institutions;
d) and, finally, to launch the long-awaited celebration of the Armenian national legacy based on a total Turkish-Armenian normalization anchored in the assumption of history, the pacific resolution of all outstanding matters, and a complete Europeanization of their relationship.
- The European People’s Party also invites the European Union and its Commission, Council and Parliament, in assessment of the honoring of commitments and obligations undertaken by Turkey, to accord continued attention to the recognition, restoration, and restitution of our shared heritage as tendered herewith.”