World Bulletin / News Desk
The Turkish foreign minister has expressed hope that Turkey's call for a joint academic research on the events of 1915 to Armenia "will not hang in the air".
Turkey's move "is a call for Armenia that we hope to be answered," Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters on Wednesday, referring to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's offer.
Turkey has called for the 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 statement earlier on Wednesday ahead of the anniversary of the events.
The 1915 events 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.
As a result, an unknown number of people died amid civil strife.
"History isn't just black and white - a grey area is needed. Everyone needs to show virtue by sharing the pains of the past," Davutoglu said at a reception held in Ankara for Turkey's April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day.
Davutoglu said Turkey's move could be surprising to some, adding: "However, everyone is aware of Turkey's humanitarian and universal attitude towards the pains of humanity."
He said Turkey and Armenia had wanted to hold talks concerning the 1915 events in 2009 when an accord was signed to normalize relations.
"Turkey sees all losses regardless of ethnicity and religion as the losses of humanity," he added.
He said Turkey did not make Wednesday's statement under pressure and it did not have a cyclical dimension.
"We call on Armenia not only to display a common and humanitarian attitude, but also to build a future together," he said. "I am sure our call will not be left hanging in the air."
US welcomes announcement
The U.S. has welcomed a recent statement by the Turkish Prime Minister in which he offered condolences to the descendants of Armenians killed during World War I.
“We welcome Prime Minister Erdogan's historic public acknowledgement of the suffering that Armenians experienced in 1915,” said Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman.
“We believe this is a positive indication that there can be a full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts, which we hope will advance the cause of reconciliation between Turks and Armenians,” she added.
International press surprised
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".
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.
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.”Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2014, 10:03