BAKU: Erdogan Urges Armenians to Give up Genocide Claims

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
July 22 2004

Erdogan Urges Armenians to Give up Genocide Claims

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said while on
an official visit to France that his country is willing to open its
gates to Armenia, but added that the main precondition for this is
the Armenians’ giving up the genocide claims.

“The Armenian Diaspora is making a mistake by keeping the so-called
Armenian genocide issue on the agenda,” Erdogan said in response to a
question from a member of the French Parliament about what Turkey
thinks of the Armenian issue.

“Progress in the relationship will be difficult to achieve as long as
the [genocide] campaigns continue. The border gates will not be
opened unless the campaigns are ended,” Turkey’s daily newspaper
Zaman quoted Erdogan as saying.

The Turkish premier suggested leaving the issues of the past to
historians and looking into ways to boost cooperation between the two

`We are well aware what situation Armenia is in,’ Erdogan said,
adding that a betterment of the Turkish-Armenian relations would be
in the interests of the latter.