Apology campaign to Armenians not appropriate: Turkish army

Apology campaign to Armenians not appropriate: Turkish army

The Turkish army said Friday it does not find appropriate the recent internet campaign launched to issue a public apology to Armenians. Turkish FM said the issue could hurt efforts to improve diplomatic ties with Armenia. (UPDATED)

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"We don't think this is right. It is wrong and will create harmful consequences," Brigadier General Metin Gurak told at a briefing. 

Around 200 Turkish academics, writers and journalists launched a website issuing an apology to the Armenians regarding the 1915 incidents and calling for people to sign on in support.

The efforts of the intellectuals drew fierce reaction in Turkey.

"This is a sensitive issue for Turkey. There is a negotiation process going on (with Armenia)... This kind of debate is of no use to anyone especially at a time talks continue and it may harm the negotiation process," Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying on Friday.

Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.Turkey rejects the claims saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet on accepting Turkey's proposal to form an independent commission to investigate the claims.

On Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he neither accepts nor supports the campaign. He added the campaign offers no other benefit than "stirring up trouble, disturbing our peace and undoing the steps which have been taken".

Turkey’s opposition parties, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have also harshly criticized the campaign.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday everyone can express their opinions freely. "The president's view is that the fact that the issue is discussed freely in academic and public circles is proof of the presence of democratic discussion in Turkey," Thursday's statement from Gul's office said.

 

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