Friday, October 19, 2007

Turkish PM calls for reconciliation with Armenia

There is a lack of sincerity in this proposal. The borders with Armenia are blocked by Turkey, the Penal Code Article 301 is in place to punish anyone who openly discusses the genocide and Turkey officially says that there is no genocide. What is Turkey going to do? Give a revisionist history lesson and force Armenia to tear down its genocide memorial otherwise be prepared to be invaded by the 2nd largest Army in NATO? Humility has never been a part of Turkey's approach to genocide, as long as Turkey uses threats as a tool for blackmail against countries that dare to recognize the genocide. Why does not Turkey take seriously the massive scholarly work on the Armenian genocide? Unless that happens Turkey is in denial. It takes more courage for Armenians to stand their ground than Turkey to use threats.
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's prime minister called for dialogue and reconciliation with Armenia on Friday as the U.S. Congress weighs whether to approve a resolution calling the 1915 massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks genocide.

"While we search for ways to address this painful issue and develop our relations with Armenia, we cannot live in the past. Our sincere offer for dialogue and reconciliation is on the table," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan wrote in an opinion piece published in Friday's Wall Street Journal, European edition.

"It is incumbent on Armenia to take the next step," he added.

The U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee backed the resolution last week proposed by a California Democrat with many Armenian-Americans in his district. It must now decide whether to hold a House vote on the resolution.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the United States for consultations in response to the vote and has warned that if the non-binding but symbolic resolution is approved by Congress it will inflict great damage on relations between the NATO allies.

The Bush administration has lobbied against the resolution.

Turkey rejects the Armenian view, backed by many Western historians and some foreign parliaments, that up to 1.5 million Armenians suffered genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks.

Many Muslim Turks died as well as Christian Armenians in inter-ethnic conflict as the Ottoman Empire crumbled, it says.

"The truth is that the Armenian allegations of genocide pertaining to the events of 1915 have not been historically or legally substantiated," Erdogan wrote.

Erdogan asked in his opinion piece why Armenia was evading Turkey's offer to establish a joint history commission to examine together the events of 1915 through bilateral dialogue.

Armenia says it would consider taking part in such a history commission if its border with Turkey were opened and normal diplomatic ties established between the two countries.

Turkey shut its border with the tiny ex-Soviet republic in 1993 to protest against Armenia's occupation of territory inside Azerbaijan, Ankara's close Turkic ally.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.

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