Armenian Massacres of 1915

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:07 am on 14th July 2005.

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Photo of Lord Triesman Lord Triesman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 11:07 am, 14th July 2005

My Lords, it is true that the issue has not been set as a precondition for negotiations with Turkey over accession to the European Union, which, as I said to your Lordships yesterday, will start on 3 October. On the other hand, there is no doubt that progress needs to be made and that it must be substantive. The United Kingdom Government have attempted to move this process on. In March 2005, at an EU Ministerial Troika with Turkey, my right honourable friend Denis MacShane suggested to Turkey that there should be an independent international commission to review the events of 1915.

Subsequently, the Turkish Prime Minister wrote to the Armenian President and offered to collaborate in such a review. I submit to the House that the review might well reach the conclusion that there was genocide because that is not ruled out. I am not prejudging what the review might do. But unfortunately the proposal was not accepted by the Armenians unless the border issue and recognition were resolved first. It is quite hard to see how progress can be made easily.