Turkey says shares pain over Ot­toman killings

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY BU­RAK AK­INCI AND STU­ART WIL­LIAMS

Turkey on Mon­day sought to reach out to Ar­me­ni­ans ahead of the 100th an­niver­sary of the mass killings of their an­ces­tors in the Ot­toman Em­pire, say­ing it shared their pain and wanted to heal the wounds of the past.

The state­ment by Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu stopped well short of rec­og­niz­ing the World War I killings as a geno­cide — as Ar­me­ni­ans want — but ex­plic­itly re­ferred to deadly de­por­ta­tions of “Ot­toman Ar­me­ni­ans.”

“We once again re­spect­fully re­mem­ber and share the pain of grand­chil­dren and chil­dren of Ot­toman Ar­me­ni­ans who lost their lives dur­ing de­por­ta­tion in 1915,” Davu­to­glu said in a state­ment re­leased by his of­fice to mark the cen­te­nary of the start of the tragedy on April 24.

Ar­me­ni­ans con­sider the mass killings a geno­cide, a term Turkey has con­sis­tently re­jected.

Davu­to­glu re­it­er­ated in the state­ment that Turkey did not ac­cept the word geno­cide to de­scribe the killings. “To re­duce ev­ery­thing to a sin­gle word, to put re­spon­si­bil­ity through gen­er­al­iza­tions on the Turk­ish na­tion alone ... is legally and morally prob­lem­atic,” he said.

He added it was pos­si­ble to de­fine why the events of the First World War hap­pened and who was re­spon­si­ble.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Bulent Arinc said af­ter a cabi­net meet­ing chaired by Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan in Ankara that there had been “no dis­grace of geno­cide” in Turk­ish his­tory.

“We are cer­tain about our­selves and stand be­hind our the­sis about the 1915 in­ci­dents,” said Arinc, the cabi­net spokesman, quoted by the of­fi­cial Ana­to­lia news agency.

But the rel­a­tively con­cil­ia­tory tone of Davu­to­glu’s state­ment con­trasted with the fu­ri­ous re­ac­tion from Ankara early this month when Pope Fran­cis used the term geno­cide to de­scribe the killings.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.