Turkish PM says apology campaign to Armenians unacceptable

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Turkish PM says apology campaign to Armenians unacceptable
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Aralık 17, 2008 12:10

It is unacceptable to affirm support to the recent internet campaign launched to issue a public apology to Armenians, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Wednesday. The Foreign Ministry said the issue is highly sensitive for them. (UPDATED)

Haberin Devamı

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.   

"I neither accept nor support this campaign. We did not commit a crime, therefore we do not need to apologize," Erdogan said, adding the issue is still being discussed by historians.

He said such initiatives only reverse the positive steps taken by Turkey.

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.

Turkey has opened an air corridor to the land-locked country and renovated a historic Armenian church, while opening its archives to researchers to study incidents.

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

A spokesman from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the issue is highly sensitive for the ministry, reminding that many bureaucrats were victimized by Armenian terror organizations in the past.

Burak Ozugergin said the ministry does not support reacting to this move and that it did not urge the retired diplomats and ambassadors, who said Monday the campaign is "unfair, wrong and unfavorable for the national interests”, to respond.

Ozugergin said Turkey's stance on the 1915 incidents was well known by everybody, adding people should be able to comfortably discuss all issues in Turkey.

"However our foreign policy is not so flimsy as to shift as a result of daily debates. We will continue to act on principles," he said.


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