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MEPs to call for EU-wide recognition of Armenia Genocide

The European Parliament is to urge Turkey to “come to terms with its past” on the “Armenian Genocide” 100 years after it took place, according to EUObserver.

The joint text – agreed by parliament groups on Tuesday (14 April) ahead of a vote in Brussels on Wednesday – also calls on “those EU member states that have not yet done so and EU institutions to recognise it”.

It says Turkey should “start a genuinely transparent public debate with a view to recognising the genocide”.

It also urges Turkey to “normalise relations … with Armenia”.

It’s likely to draw fire from Ankara, which vigorously polices its reputation and which is concerned that recognition could lead to reparation claims.

Turkey this week recalled its Vatican ambassador after the Pope called the killings, by the then Ottoman Empire, “the first genocide of the 20th century”.

For his part, Selim Yenel, its EU envoy, told EUobserver on Tuesday that: “The EP is acting as prosecutor, judge, and jury without a dialogue on this issue with the parties concerned. During the events of 1915 everybody suffered, but Turkey does not play the blame game”.

“We’ve always looked toward the future in a positive manner and still extend our hand for reconciliation. However, this hand has been turned down at every opportunity”.

His reference to “reconciliation” relates to the Armenian-Turkish “protocols” of 2008.

The EU Observer reminds that Armenia will, in Yerevan on 24 April, welcome a handful of world leaders for the obsequies.

The list includes French president Francois Hollande, Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. The office of EP chief Martin Schulz said he is unlikely to go for “logistical” reasons.

The Armenian Catholic Church is to mark the anniversary by canonising genocide martyrs. People also plan to hold a torch-lit march through Yerevan to the Genocide Memorial, on a hill overlooking the capital.

Ten EU countries – Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden – have recognised the genocide.

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