Erdogan's condolences a call for consensus: Turkey's FM
Thursday, April 24, 2014
ANKARA - Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey extended its hand to Armenia with Prime Minister Erdogan's latest statement that offered condolences to the Armenians who lost their lives during the 1915 events.
"This is a call to build a consensus on history," Davutoglu told private broadcaster NTV. "Our Prime Minister extended Turkey's hand to Armenia to get our minds and hearts closer. If it gets an answer, then we can build a future together. If not, we will go back to the former discourses."
On Wednesday, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement in nine languages, including Armenian, in which he termed the events of 1915 as “inhumane.”
"Regardless of their ethnic or religious origins, we pay tribute with compassion and respect to all Ottoman citizens who lost their lives in the events of 1915," the statement said.
Davutoglu hailed the statement, saying it accomplished its goal considering the reactions worldwide. "It demonstrates a just and humane stance and gives the idea to build a future together."
He said a transformation in Turkey-Armenia relations could be achieved if politicians were brave enough to change political discourses. "This is what Mr. Prime Minister did."
Davutoglu also reiterated Turkey's calls for academic research of the 1915 events to be carried out by a commission of Turkish, Armenian and international historians.
"If we can agree on the method to discuss the events, then we can build a future together," he said.
Aided by the invading Russian army during the First World War, Armenian gangs in Turkey staged an armed insurgency that stabbed the embattled Ottoman Empire in the back.
In 1915, the ruling party Committee of Union and Progress approved a law that ordered the deportation of a part of the ethnic Armenians in the then-empire. Armenia and the Armenian diaspora claim that nothing short of genocide occurred under this order, but Turkey says that both Turks and Armenians died during clashes between Ottoman forces and armed Armenian groups backed by Russia.
Turkey's foreign minister also said relations between Armenia and Turkey needed a normalization, which would improve bilateral political relations, help establish peace among the two countries' peoples and fix Armenia-Azerbaijan relations in Caucasia.
"Now Turkey has the right to expect Armenians to offer their condolences to Turkey for the murders committed by ASALA against Turkish diplomats, to avoid one-sidedness," he added.
Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) is a far-left terrorist organization that targeted Turkish diplomats and officials serving abroad. The organization killed 53 Turks including diplomats and their families during 1970s and 1980s.
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