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VILNIUS, November 29. /ITAR-TASS/. EU countries should exert pressure on Turkey in order make it recognize the genocide of ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and to unblock the border with Armenia, President Serzh Sargsyan said Friday as he attended the summit of the EU’s Eastern Partnership format.
“Consistent application of European values may help Turkey in coming to terms with its own past, as thousands of Turks condemn the genocide of Armenians today and rise shoulder to shoulder with us to commemorate its victims today,” Sargsyan said.
“With the centenary anniversary of the mass purges against Armenians getting closer, the Turkish authorities should summon their ability to display will and to turn down the policy of denying the genocide,” he believes.
“Turkey continues facing a challenge on the road to integration in the EU as a European country and that challenge is the opening of Europe’s last closed border /the Turkish-Armenian border - Itar-Tass/ and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Armenia,” Sargsyan said.
“We expect full engagement of the EU countries as our partners and their persistence in the elimination of the illegal blockade of Armenia,” he said.
International recognition and condemnation of the 1915 genocide that took away the lives of 1.5 million people is a priority of Armenia’s foreign policy, since its authorities believe that a policy of this kind prevents crimes against humanity.
The first genocide of the 20th century has been recognized and condemned by a number of states.
This problem that been overshadowing relations between Turkey and Armenia since the latter country declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The Turkish government refuses to admit the Ottoman Empire’s wrongdoings and sizes them up as legitimate actions towards the Armenian population of the empire, which sympathized with and supported Russia amid the flaring World War I.
Armenia and Turkey, which have a 330-kilometers-long common border, have not established diplomatic relations to date.