Question for written answer E-001159/2015
to the Commission
Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)
Subject: Armenian genocide and Turkey pre-accession funding
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, does the EU intend to raise the issue of Turkey’s laws which prohibit discussion of the Armenian genocide? Does the Commission feel it is appropriate to give pre-accession funding to a country which refuses to acknowledge war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated against the Armenian people?
Answer given by Mr Hahn
on behalf of the Commission
In its progress report on Turkey of October 2014, the Commission pointed out that the debate in Turkey on sensitive matters such as the Armenian issue has been open and lively. The progress report also stated that in April 2014, on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the events in 1915, the Prime Minister has issued the first ever message of condolences to the descendants of Armenians killed or deported. The message was published in nine languages including Western and Eastern Armenian. In May, the Prime Minister met the Armenian Deputy Patriarch. Initiatives to mark ‘Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day’ took place peacefully on 24 April 2014 in Istanbul and five other provinces. A ground-breaking conference on Muslim Armenians in Turkey was organised by the Hrant Dink Foundation in November at Bosphorus University.
The Commission believes that the EU needs to continue enhancing its engagement with Turkey to make sure that European standards remain the reference in Turkey. The Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) II is aimed at helping the beneficiaries, including Turkey, to implement the reforms needed to fulfil the accession criteria. The Indicative Strategy Paper for Turkey earmarks EUR 4.45 billion of funding for the period 2014-2020, a significant part being devoted to fundamental rights, democracy and rule of law. This includes support to the freedom of expression.