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EU condemns Turkish court ruling canceling Armenian genocide conference

[JURIST] The European Commission [official website] Friday strongly condemned a Turkish court's decision to cancel an academic conference to discuss and question the accuracy of Turkey's version of events between 1915 and 1917 leading to 1.5 million deaths in what has been called the Armenian genocide [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Turkey is pursuing membership in the European Union, but the EU has been hesitant about the application, in part because of the country's questionable human rights history. Earlier this year, Turkey committed to reform [JURIST report], but the Commission said if the court's order is not overruled, it will have a detrimental effect on continuing questions about Turkey's eligibility to join. Also weighing on the commission's evaluation of Turkey's potential EU membership is a decision by Turkey's parliament earlier this year to delay implementing a new penal code [JURIST report]. Conference participants plan to appeal the court's decision, while membership negotiations between the EU and Turkey are expected to begin early next month. AFP has more.

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