Armenian Youth Federation Representatives Meet with Consul General, Voice Opposition to Turkish EU Membership
Los Angeles, CA – Over 100 Armenian American youth protested at the Consular Offices of the Netherlands in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 17, 2004. The protest was a reaction to the impending talks with the Republic of Turkey regarding membership in the European Union. Official representatives of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) met with the Consul General of the Netherlands and expressed their opposition to Turkeyís possible membership in the European Union. Every six months, the Presidency of the EU rotates and the Netherlands took on this position until the end of December, 2004.
During the meeting, AYF Chairman Shant Baboujian and Secretary Nora Ounjian relayed an official letter voicing the communityís opposition to Turkish membership in the EU. The letter outlined numerous human rights violations by the Republic of Turkey and specifically called upon European Leaders to hold Turkey accountable for perpetrating genocide against Armenians between the years of 1915 – 1923.
“While we appreciate and commend the recent developments demanding Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide, we will continuously voice our opposition to Turkish membership in the EU,” said Baboujian. “Turkey must first address is abysmal human rights record and denials of the Armenian Genocide before any talks about membership are initiated.”
More than 100 youth, from various community based organizations, spanned across two blocks of Wilshire Blvd. during the afternoon rush hour protest, holding placards, which read slogans such as “No EU for Turkey” and “First Justice, then EU.” Protesters also distributed fact sheets to by passers about Turkeyís denial of the Armenian Genocide; occupation of Cyprus; blockade of Armenia; and human rights abuses of various minorities living within the Republic of Turkey.
The Los Angeles protest was one of many protests taking place around the world this week in an international Armenian effort to voice opposition to Turkish membership in the EU. The largest such demonstration was undertaken by the Armenian National Committee of Europe, which organized a massive protest in Brussels on December 17. Thousands of concerned citizens of various European nations gathered to demonstrate and urge European leaders to consider Turkeyís gross violations of basic human rights.