Solutions on the way to Turkey’s EU membership
Turkey seeks membership in the European Union. In December 2004, theEuropean
Council approved Turkey’s fulfillment of the political criteria ofCopenhagen
– a precondition for opening accession negotiations. The Councilthen set
October 2005 as the starting date for negotiations. This decisionrecognizes
Turkey’s progress in further democratizing and improving humanrights and
minority issues, which had only until recently been minimallyaddressed, if
at all. Many problem areas and taboos still remain.The preaccession process
gives us the opportunity to view these remaining problems and work
together on solutions.
The current situation of the Armenian minority in Turkey as well as the
Turkishdiscussion of its own history with respect to the Armenians remains
one of thelargest remaining taboos. Many in the Armenian diaspora demand
thatTurkey accept responsibility for its crimes in 1915 as a precondition
for its EUmembership. The official Turkish position, on the other hand, has
difficultyrecognizing Armenian suffering.
For the past several years, and largely unknown outside the region,
Turkishcivil society has been addressing this problematic and creating a
dialogue thatshould contribute to a new understanding and re-evaluation of
official Turkishhistory. Leading Turkish and Armenianscholars and
intellectuals togetherhave begun to critically discuss historical
interpretation as well as theircommon future in a democratic and liberal
By planning an event at the European Parliament, we seek to bring a
largerEuropean dimension to the Armenian discussion and give
constructiveopposing voices a fair debate forum. Any discussion about
Turkey’s futureincludes confrontation of the past based on collective
respect and empathy.Our goal is to contribute to this process of
understanding. More broadly, it isour goal to better the future cohabitation
of different cultures and ethnicities inTurkey.
The discussion on April 12 in Strasbourg will be lead by significant
personalities and scholars of history working on this issue such as Hrant
Dink,Etyen Mahcupyan and Taner Akcam.