Erdogan says Turkey opens files and documents in its archives to historians
ANKARA - Turkey calls for academic research of the 1915 events to be carried out by a commission of Turkish, Armenian and international historians, the Turkish Prime Ministry said in a written statement on Wednesday ahead of the anniversary of the events.
Erdogan released a message for the anniversary of 1915 events which began when the Ottoman Empire approved a deportation law in April 24, 1915 for Armenians, when they held an uprising, aided by the the invading Russian army, during the First World War. As a result, an unknown number of people died in civil strife.
"In Turkey, expressing different opinions and thoughts freely on the events of 1915 is the requirement of a pluralistic society as well as of a culture of democracy and modernity," said Erdogan in the statement released in Turkish, English and French.
Erdogan said that any conscientious, fair and humane approach to the Armenian issue is required to bring forth an understanding of all the suffering experienced during that period regardless of religion or ethnicity.
Erdogan stated that Turkey is open to consideration on its approach to this issue and added: "Some may perceive this climate of freedom in Turkey as an opportunity to express accusatory, offensive and even provocative assertions and allegations. Even so, if this will enable us to understand historical issues with their actual aspects and to transform resentment to friendship again, we will consider different discourses with empathy and tolerance and expect a similar attitude from all sides."
Erdogan also called for Turkish and Armenian societies not to derive enmity from history and create new antagonisms.
"The spirit of the age necessitates dialogue despite differences, understanding by heeding others, evaluating the means for compromise, denouncing hatred, and praising respect and tolerance. It is with this understanding that we have opened our archives to all researchers. Today, hundreds of thousands of documents in our archives are at the service of historians," added Erdogan.
The Armenian diaspora and the state of Armenia term the incidents as "genocide" and ask for compensation, whereas Turkey says that while Armenians died during the deportation, many Turks also died due to the attacks by Armenian gangs all across Anatolia.
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