This comes barely six months before French elections and amid a climate of strong French voter opposition to Turkey’s potential future EU entry. France’s Armenian community numbers around 500,000. President Jacques Chirac at a commemoration ceremony recently said he believes Turkish acceptance of the country’s role in the deaths ought to be a condition for its European Union membership.
When these negotiations began a year ago, it was not a pre-condition. Chirac said all countries grow by coming to terms with their dramas and errors. EU enlargement spokesperson Krisztina Nagy, in Brussels made the European stance clear: “For the concrete framework for the negotiations with Turkey, the European Council has taken a decision, and this decision does not include the recognition of the Armenian genocide as a criterion for accession for Turkey.” The European Commission warned France that it could hinder efforts to end decades of dispute over the killings. Nagy said: “It is not up to law to write history.”