Turkey calls for impartial study of Armenian genocide claims

Turkey calls for impartial study of Armenian genocide claims


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for
an unbiased study by historians of claims that millions of Armenians
were the victims of genocide under Ottoman rule during World War I.

“We have already opened our archives to those who claim there was
genocide. If they are sincere, they should also open their archives,”
Erdogan told a press conference here after talks with opposition
leader Deniz Baykal.

That would allow historians to work on documents each side has to
determine what happened, he said.

“If there is a need for a political settling of accounts with history
after such a study, we, the government and the opposition, are ready
to do just that,” Erdogan added.

He said that there were also plans for the Turkish parliament to
issue a declaration on the genocide claims.

Turkey categorically denies the allegations, but has recently been
facing increasing calls from within the European Union which it hopes
to join that it accept the killings of Armenians as genocide.

Some EU politicans have said that the genocide claims will be one of
the issues Turkey has to deal with as it prepares to begin lengthy
membership talks on October 3 to join the EU.

The massacres of Armenians during World War I is one of the most
controversial episodes in Turkish history.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen were massacred in
orchestrated killings nine decades ago during the last years of the
Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey.

Turkey, on the other hand, argues that 300,000 Armenians and thousands
of Turks were killed in what was civil strife during World War I when
the Armenians rose against their Ottoman rulers.