BRUSSELS — Turkey’s Permanent Delegation to the EU rejected the European Parliament’s Turkey Progress Report over its request for recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The annual report, which the EP passed in April by 375 votes in favor and 133 against, was returned immediately after receiving it on Friday without opening the document.
According to diplomatic sources from the delegation speaking anonymously due to restrictions on speaking with the media, the report was rejected over its remarks calling for recognition of the 1915 events as genocide.
On the 100th anniversary of the genocide, in 2015 the European Parliament passed another resolution marking the solemn occasion and paying tribute to the victims. The report rejected by Turkey on Friday referred to the 2015 resolution on the centenary of the genocide.
“Turkey will reject the European Parliament Progress Report on Turkey to be voted on Thursday if it includes any mention of an ‘Armenian genocide,’” Turkey’s then-EU Minister Volkan Bozkir said.
Ankara’s relationship with the European Parliament is increasingly tense. On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the European Parliament for hanging on its walls the flag of the Syrian Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG). Speaking at an iftar dinner to break the Ramadan fast, Erdogan called on the European Parliament to explain why it hung the flag of a “terrorist group” on its walls.
Turkey considers the YPG, and its political wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be extensions of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which it has named a terrorist organization.
Photographs of Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey, posing in front of the flags during a visit to the European Parliament were shared by Turkish media on Wednesday.
In addition to the reference to the Armenian genocide, the parliamentary report, prepared by Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s special rapporteur to Turkey, had harsh words for Ankara.
The European Parliament, “Is deeply concerned, in the light of the backsliding on respect for democracy and rule of law inside Turkey, that the overall pace of reforms in Turkey has slowed down considerably in recent years, and that in certain key areas, such as the independence of the judiciary, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and respect for human rights and the rule of law, there has been a regression moving increasingly away from meeting the Copenhagen criteria to which candidate countries must adhere,” reads the report.