Turkish PM’s 1915 statement surprises foreign press

Media in Germany and France taken aback by Erdogan's comments on events involving Armenians

Media in Germany and France taken aback by Erdogan's comments on events involving Armenians

ANKARA - A statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on events in 1915 involving Armenians has drawn huge interest from the German press.

In the statement released earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan had underlined the “shared pain” endured during the First World War and expressed his condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives “in the context of the early 20th century”. 

The website of the German daily Tagesspiegel said it was the first time that a Turkish leader had delivered such a statement, but stressed it was not an official apology.

It also emphasized the PM’s announcement was released in Armenian and called it an “extraordinary step.”

The website of the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily said the statement was "surprising".

- 'Political earthquake'

It said the PM’s tone was “conciliatory,” but added that it remained unclear whether the two neighboring states, Turkey and Armenia, could overcome the differences between them.

The Armenian diaspora and the state of Armenia have labeled the 1915 incidents as "genocide" and asked 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.

Another daily, Deutsche Welle, said Turkey has extended its hand to Armenia and named the statement an “unusual gesture.”

Meanwhile, France 24 channel said such a statement was “very rare and something that should be underlined”.

The Le Monde French daily said it was the first time that PM Erdogan had talked explicitly about the 1915 incidents, while the Le Parisien daily called the step a “political earthquake.”

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