Armenians focus on Erdogan's 1915 statement
Friday, April 25, 2014
YEREVAN, Armenia - Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement to mark the 99th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian-Turkish conflict has been welcomed by Armenian citizens in Yerevan.
It was clear on Friday that most Armenians in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, had paid attention to Erdogan's statement of two days earlier, when he stressed the “common pain” experienced during the World War One incidents and expressed his “condolences” to Armenians around the world.
Erdogan had also said that "Armenians who lost their lives in the events in the early twentieth century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren".
Some Armenians on the streets of their country's largest city told Anadolu Agency that they found the message a positive step forward, while others said it was "unsatisfying".
- 'Positive development'
The biggest expectation of most Armenians was that the borders with Turkey would be opened.
One market trader on Hanrapetutyan street in Yerevan, 55-year-old Anahit Paronikyan, said Erdogan's statement was a positive development and there was no need for hostility between the two countries.
"If the borders between Turkey and Armenia were opened, people would find a chance to know each other. We have lived together so far. There is no need to be enemies," he said.
Nara Agilyan, 33, who sells trinkets in the same market, said people had not turned against Turkey, and that they only wanted respect and their historical pain to be accepted.
"Erdogan's statement is very important. The is the first time we have heard such a statement," Agilyan said.
- 'Important step forward'
Anna Hovanisyan, 26, said she had not expected such a statement from Turkey and she had been surprised when she heard it.
She said that although she thought the statement was insufficient, it was "a very important step forward".
A third-grade undergraduate student, Mariam Petrosyan, said she wanted relations between the countries to normalize.
Stating that she had never been to Turkey, but wanted to go, she added: "I hope Erdogan's statement will provide a positive contribution to our relations."
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