Turkey's EU Minister Bozkır warns against 1915, PKK points in progress report
EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır, speaking to journalists after talks with European Parliament Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri, said if the upcoming Turkey progress report from European Parliament (EP) includes the 1915 incidents between Ankara and Yerevan, it would be declared null and void by Turkey.
Pointing out the EP acknowledgment that the 1915 incidents amounted to genocide, Bozkır said that Turkey did not accept the decision and if there is a reference to the 1915 incidents in the progress report, the report will not be accepted by Turkey for the first time.
The EP in April adopted a resolution that urges all EU member states and Turkey to recognize the 1915 incidents in the Ottoman Empire as the Armenian genocide. Turkey has repeatedly rejected the EU's definition of the incidents and pointed out that Armenians died during a forced relocation process in 1915. The EP first recognized the 1915 incidents as genocide in a 1987 resolution.
Turkey and Armenia disagree on what happened during the incidents between 1915 and 1923, with Armenia saying that 1.5 million people were deliberately killed and Turkey saying the deaths were a result of deportations and civil strife. The 1915 incidents took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the empire.
Bozkır added,Turkey strongly opposes if the report mentions the outlawed PKK, which is also listed as terrorist organization by the EU. Bozkır said: "If there is any reference to remove the PKK from the black list in the EU, it is impossible for us to accept the report."
He further added that Turkey will not accept the report if it hinders continuation of the negotiation process and implied an end to the EU's economic contributions to Turkey.
He said that this year's progress report is yet to be announced even though it should have been published two months ago and added: "The report is getting more complicated with changing proposals as 420 proposals have been requested."
Bozkır said that the report is expected to be published on June 9 or July 9.
Turkey's 2014 Progress Report hailed the successful reconciliation process of the Kurdish issue and added that it would make a positive contribution to stability and the protection of human rights in Turkey. The EP called on all political parties to support the process. The EP also welcomed "the new strategy devised by the government of Turkey to channel all new legislation through the EU Affairs Ministry; recommends, in this regard, whenever possible, close consultation with the Venice Commission and a more intensive dialogue with the European Commission on new legislation under preparation and on the implementation of existing laws, in order to ensure compatibility with the EU acquis."
Turkey has been a candidate country to join the EU since 1999. Negotiations for the accession to the EU began in 2005. Turkey must comply with 35 policy areas, or chapters, setting out reforms needed to become a member.