Responding to queries after his address to the PACE from press members about the 1915 incidents, President Gül, sharing his sadness about the sorrows of the past, promulgated that there has been no genocide committed in Turkish history and reiterated the necessity to enable peoples to live fraternally in unity and solidarity.
The President, objecting to the use of the word genocide regarding the Armenian allegations of the 1915 incidents, noted: “We do not admit that a genocide has been perpetrated in our history. If there is anyone claiming otherwise, we say to them clearly: ‘Let us form a joint commission where a group of scientists from both sides come together and open both countries’ civil and military archives. Let us admit whatever they will find there. Even scientists from a third country can be involved in this study.’ This incident occurred 100 years ago during World War I. We are sorry about the sorrows experienced of course. While the Turkish state was fighting on four fronts over the Ottoman lands, there emerged some riots when some citizens were provoked and these citizens’ locations had to be changed. Clashes occurred in some places. These are saddening events. To declare an incident genocide, there must be deliberate killings of people belonging to one religion or race. At those times, among our Armenian citizens, there were high-ranking officials or members of higher courts and ambassadors who represented the Ottoman Empire abroad. All the Armenian churches were open and functioning. If you consider this incident genocide, it cannot be acceptable at all.”
“SHOULD WE LIVE IN HISTORY, NO ONE CAN LOOK INTO EACH OTHER’S EYES”
President Gül continued his comment as follows: “The founders of the Turkish Republic, particularly Atatürk, made great efforts to not imbue the next generations with animosity and hatred for years. However, in these wars, almost three millions of Turks perished on the road back to the Motherland. Such tragedies as we lived were not taught to the future generations for years. If we should live in history, no one can look into one another’s eyes in Europe. This is what we all should do: looking ahead all together. Of course we are sad about the sorrows of the past, but we must enable all peoples to live fraternally in unity and solidarity in the future. Therefore, I will not admit your allegation.”
RAPPROCHEMENT OF TURKISH-ARMENIAN RELATIONS
As to the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia, the President, referring to the former’s zero problems with neighbors policy, noted that Turkey has made great progress in this regard, reiterating Turkey’s political will that it wishes to implement the protocols signed by the two parties.
“WHEN PROBLEMS ARE SETTLED, THE CAUCASUS WILL BECOME A DOOR BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA”
Recalling that 20% of the Azeri territory is under the Armenian occupation, the President said he does not relate this issue to Turkey’s normalization process with Armenia, which he declared must withdraw from the Azeri soil it invaded. The Caucasus, he proclaimed, should turn into an area of security and cooperation. When these very problems are sorted out, the Caucasus will become a door between Europe and Asia, the President predicted.