Nearly 400 organizations from 22 European countries signed on to a letter launched by the European Armenian Federation urging the president of the United States to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The petition was submitted to the White House on April 3, the day before President Barack Obama’s trip to Turkey; by then, 340 organizations had already co-signed the letter.
In it, the Federation reminds the president that “European Armenians as well as the large democratic mainstream of Europe’s civil society will continue to strongly oppose Turkey’s membership in the EU as long as the Turkish state denies the Armenian Genocide, promotes racism, and pursues a policy of discrimination towards its minorities.” The Federation further notes that “the commitment that President Obama made to recognize the genocide will unleash the momentum of true change and democratization inside Turkey” and “will also provide an unprecedented momentum to the process of dialogue between Turkey and Armenia” by clearly stating “that denial of this crime against humanity will no longer be supported and that the way forward will definitely require of Turkey a fundamental commitment to just peace.”
The European Armenian Federation concludes the letter by reminding that “any retreat by the United States at this defining moment would be interpreted by genocide-perpetrating governments as full license to continue their bloody acts and criminal complicity, as witnessed in Turkey’s recent support for the Sudanese president who is under an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court.”
“President Obama has the opportunity to demonstrate a real political sea-change compared to his predecessors, by promoting a policy of ethical responsibility, respect, justice, and truth on this issue as well as others. The anticipation of this change has elicited tremendous enthusiasm in Europe and in the world. If the U.S. president does not affirm his commitment to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Europeans would view it as a disappointing affirmation of the same old tactical schemes and maneuvers which so harmed the United States these last years,” said Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.
Recent rumors of “understandings” between Turkey and a hostage Armenia (Turkey has blockaded Armenia for more than 15 years), are intended to cast doubts on what Obama will say on April 24, she added.
“The Armenian Genocide is an established fact that is independent of any ‘understanding’ between Armenia and Turkey. Likewise, the condemnation and repression of this crime is essential in all countries independent of political circumstances because it is about a crime that is indefeasible and that struck the whole of Humanity,” she said, adding that the recognition by the United States and other countries of an unpunished genocide with the purpose of its reparation by the criminal state constitutes an obligation under international law.
The list of signatory associations is available by visiting the website of the European Armenian Federation, at www.eafjd.eu.