In recent days, one after another, the European Parliament has adopted a rather harsh report and resolution on Turkey, demanding the return of the captives from Azerbaijan.
Moreover, the first European document spoke not only about the need to recognize the Armenian Genocide, but also about Turkey’s destabilizing role in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), and emphasized the right of nations to self-determination in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, emphasizing that the conflict is not resolved yet. In an urgent resolution on the return of prisoners of war (POWs), the organization also criticized Azerbaijan’s encroachment on Armenia’s territorial integrity.
The European Parliament came up with a common position, leaving aside the political-geopolitical views, says our country’s ambassador to Belgium Anna Aghajanian.
“The European Parliament was able to unite around the humanitarian issue and really put aside political party interests. It is clear that this resolution, the one who presented it and everyone who participated in the debate emphasized the very humanitarian nature of the issue. It will be discussed later, during other resolutions and reports,” says Anna Aghajanian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Belgium, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the European Union.
The head of our country’s diplomatic mission in Belgium considers the resolution possible from several points of view. It is especially clear that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not been settled yet, and the addressee of the demands reflected in the resolution is Azerbaijan.
“The resolution clearly calls on Azerbaijan to release all the captives, all the detained persons. It does not stand there; it condemns the ‘trophy park’ and demands to close it. It also stressed the need to achieve a lasting and stable settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The status must be determined and the right of nations to self-determination and equal rights is spoken of, and these are very important signals from the European Parliament,” Aghajanian says.
It is not easy to include any topic in the plenary session of the European Parliament in the form of an urgent issue. Political factions move according to their priorities. This time the resolution on POWs was approved by everyone, especially thanks to the two largest factions, the European People’s Party and the Social Democrats. Many of the MEPs who are members of those factions have worked hard for several months in favor of Armenia.
“Azerbaijan is not fulfilling its obligations and is not returning Armenian POWs under any pretext. There is ample evidence that detainees are treated inhumanely. As the European Parliament, our position is united. We demand from the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release all POWs, detainees, and to do so without preconditions. We demand the preservation of the religious and Armenian cultural heritage in the places that have suffered from the recent developments. As a faction, we, the Social Democrats, demanded a few points, which, unfortunately, did not find a place in the resolution this time. We demanded sanctions against Azerbaijan and revocation of the visa agreement,” says Costas Mavrides, Member of the European Parliament, Cyprus.
“As a faction of the European People’s Party, it was very important for us to support this resolution, because the issue is first and foremost humanitarian. We must stand by the Armenian people. We must put pressure on Azerbaijan, it is our duty not only as a European member, but first of all, as a human being,” says Lucas Furlas, Member of the European Parliament, Cyprus.
The Ambassador of our country emphasizes that the current result of the difficult, consistent work is the effective cooperation of the diplomatic staff.
“Diplomatic missions and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are naturally functioning as a common institution, but there are also supporting and cooperating bodies, and here I should especially mention the important work with the Armenian National Committee in Brussels and especially the effective cooperation with the Ombudsman of Armenia and his staff, which was really important here,” Anna Aghajanian says.
Aghajanyan also referred to the annual report of the European Parliament on Turkey, approved a day before the adoption of the resolution on Armenian captives. Some of the points there are also important achievements for us.
The report on Turkey is probably the most complicated of the most recent reports on countries. The issue of Turkey, the cooperation with Turkey is multi-layered, complex and comprehensive. There are many political, geopolitical, personal and economic interests, which are intertwined and make the work of the rapporteur: very complicated. It is one of the longest reports and resolutions, and I think that the inclusion of several references in the resolution with that complexity, as well as talking about the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and Turkey’s role in our region is a very important signal,” says Aghajanian.
Diplomacy is a comprehensive work, and Anna Aghajanian hopes that the call of 607 deputies representing 27 EU member states will contribute to larger-scale work in some countries, and Azerbaijan will eventually heed the calls-demands of the European Parliament.