Azerbaijan president defends Turkey on Armenia issue

President Ilham Aliyev backs Turkey and accuses Armenia of not wanting peace in the Caucasus.

Azerbaijan president defends Turkey on Armenia issue

World Bulletin / News Desk

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has backed Turkey against a claim by Armenia's leader that Turkey cannot be a part of the European Union unless it opens its border crossing with his country.

Aliyev said during the EU’s Eastern Partnership meeting in the Czech capital of Prague on Friday: “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had offered to open archives on the 1915 incidents a couple of years ago. But Armenia did not respond positively.

"Erdogan has expressed his condolences over the Armenian people who lost their lives. But again Armenia did not reply positively.”

He added that Armenia’s response to Turkey showed who did not want peace in the region.

The details behind the incidents in 1915 continue to be a contentious issue between Turkey and Armenia which has kept relations sour between the two neighbors.

Well received message

The 1915 incidents took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and uprose against the Ottoman authority. The uprisings were followed by a relocation decision of the Ottoman Empire concerning Armenians living in eastern Anatolia.

Turkey says that both Turks and Armenians died during clashes between Ottoman forces and armed Armenian groups backed by Russia.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s message has been well received by Armenians living in Turkey’s southeastern region.

Vartkes Ayik, President of the Foundation of Surp Giragos Armenian Church, told Anadolu Agency that no one could change the incidents that happened a hundred years ago, but added necessary measures should be taken to prevent history repeating itself.

Retired teacher Aziz Yaman from Turkey’s Diyarbakir city praised Erdogan’s statement, adding: “We can discuss whether this statement is sufficient or not. But this is a beginning. We hope that steps in that direction will be taken.” 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Nisan 2014, 12:03