Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (171)

Thomas P. Broughan


171. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he intends to formally recognise the Armenian genocide of 24 April 1915 in which more than one million Armenian citizens were tortured and killed as has been recognised by the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and a number of member states in the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30691/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Relations between Armenia and Turkey have long been overshadowed by the events which resulted in the tragic deaths of very large numbers of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire nearly one hundred years ago. Both sides hold sharply different historical interpretations of these events. In 2009 there were signs of possible improvement in the difficult relationship with the signature of protocols in which Armenia and Turkey agreed to establish diplomatic relations and open their common border. It was envisaged as part of the process of reconciliation to refer the question of the 1915 events to a Joint Commission on historical issues. However, the protocols were not ratified by either party. The non-ratification of the 2009 protocols was a lost opportunity not only for Armenia and Turkey but for the entire region. As we know in Ireland the process of reconciliation and coming to terms with the past is never easy. As Turkey is a candidate country for EU membership and Armenia is an Eastern Partner, soon to sign an historic Association Agreement with the EU, the opportunity to move forward on this may present itself again and I would urge both sides to take advantage of any opportunity for progress for the good of their people, the region, and their shared future.