Armenia no longer demands Turkey recognize the genocide of its people?
Published 10 December, 2009, 11:45
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said Yerevan is ready to establish
diplomatic ties with Turkey without any preconditions, `particularly
without the precondition that Turkey should recognize the Armenian
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Propeller The protocols which are meant to be ratified by the
countries’ parliaments and which were signed in October in Zurich,
Switzerland, mean two things: the opening of the border between the
states and the establishment of diplomatic ties (`the creation of an
intergovernmental bilateral commission with sub-commissions dealing
with every possible area of cooperation between the two countries,’
the protocol says).
While Yerevan is putting the tragic past aside for the sake of a
friendly neighborhood and new trade opportunities, the Armenian
community worldwide is split over the move.
The feud stems from an alleged genocide committed by the Ottoman
Empire against Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered, more than
half of Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire at the time.
The Turks claim the figure is exaggerated and refuse to call it
genocide. `We will never accept blame for such a thing,’ says Turkish
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey refers to the massacre in 1915 as `mass deportation’ and stands
firm on the position that those deaths were war casualties. The
Ottoman Empire took part in the First World War (1914-1918) on
Germany’s side. The Turkish Empire fell apart in 1923 and was
succeeded by the Republic of Turkey.
Twenty-one countries, including Russia, France, Italy, Canada, and the
US, have adopted resolutions acknowledging the Armenian genocide as a
historical event. In France you risk being sentenced to a year in
prison for denying the Armenian genocide. But in order to enjoy
diplomatic and wider economic ties with Turkey, Ankara insists Armenia
should drop its policy aimed at international recognition of the
Normalization of relations between Yerevan and Ankara is one of the
conditions of Turkey’s joining the EU – something Ankara is yearning
`Wounds and scars will be overcome – first we need to establish
diplomatic relations,’ says Suat Kiniklioglu, a member of the Turkish
Parliament and Deputy Chair of External Affairs.
While the Turks are trying to hush the past, millions of Armenians
scattered around the globe as a result of the genocide wonder if it is
too big a concession to make for the sake of a more open neighborhood.
The Armenian leadership has its own reasoning behind the move, where
the economy plays a considerable part.
World leaders generally welcome the warming of relations between
Ankara and Yerevan, which could end the century-old Cold War between
Turkey and Armenia.
`We are generally glad that relations between Armenia and Turkey have
been warming, that [the two nations] are trying to overcome those
problems that [concerned them in the 20th century], are showing mutual
restraint and are searching for a compromise,’ says Russian President
Medvedev also noted that it is important that other nations do not
think that this process comes at any other nation’s expense.