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PARIS, NOVEMBER 17, ARMENPRESS: French-Armenians will hold a rally Wednesday at the Palais Bourbon, home to the French National Assembly, to demand that the country’s Parliament vote on Turkey’s accession to the European Union. The rally has the support of the French-Armenian Coordinating Council and is being organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), the Armenian Democratic League (Ramkavar party), and the Hay Dat (Armenian Cause) Committee of France.

ARF press office said the National Assembly on October 14 had discussed the issue of Turkish accession–but did not hold a vote, despite the demand of a large number of political parties and parliamentarians to do so. The French government, particularly President Jacques Chirac, opposed such a vote, fearing that a majority of the Assembly, including Chirac’s own party members, might reject Turkish accession. That result would have undermined Chirac’s authority and likely isolated France within Europe.

The French-Armenian rally on Wednesday is scheduled for exactly a month before the European Union’s December 17 summit, which will set the date on when the EU would begin formal accession talks with Turkey. At the rally, scores of French parliamentarians are expected to cast symbolic votes as a sign of protest against the denial of their right to vote in the National Assembly regarding Turkish accession. They will also demand that in the next month a formal vote actually be held in the Assembly.

The vast majority of French voters are opposed to Turkey’s accession to the European Union, and rally organizers hope to put pressure on President Chirac to heed public opinion. They are also seeking to make Turkey’s recognition of the Armenian genocide a precondition for Turkish entry into the EU.

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