Turkey must recognize Armenian massacres – Turkish mayor

news.am, Armenia
May 7 2011

Turkey must recognize Armenian massacres – Turkish mayor (video, photo)

May 07, 2011 | 04:56

Mayor of the Turkish city of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir met with
Armenian and Turkish journalists in his office.

Member of Kurdish Peace and Democracy party, Baydemir noted that
meeting with the Armenian journalists is one of the happiest days
during his 7 years’ tenure, the Armenian News-NEWS.am correspondent
reports from Diyarbakir. Mayor recalled that about 100 years ago the
city was deprived of its wealth after Armenians and Assyrians were
displaced forcedly.

`Diyarbakir is not only a Muslim city. St. Giragos, the Virgin Mary
Church and other churches are located here. City’s architecture has
Armenian and Assyrian elements. I dream of a city that would have
merged the voice of mullah and ringing of [church] bells. Therefore,
we started reconstruction of the Middle East’s largest Christian
church,’ he said.

One of the Turkish journalists asked about steps the city council
takes to discuss and study the Armenian Genocide of 1915, as a large
number of Armenians left the city then.

`It was a great tragedy. Unfortunately, the younger generation, mostly
in western Turkey, did not realize what had happened. If Turkey
manages to face facts that occurred during the Kurdish uprisings of
1915, it will be possible to face bright future,’ he said. “We believe
that one practical action is better than thousand statements. We are
guided by this approach and landscaped the Armenian cemetery and are
restoring church”

All nationalities populating Diyarbakir, including Armenians, Yazidis,
and Assyrians will be represented in the museum which is being
constructed in the city, he added.

Another Turkish journalist asked Baydemir about mayor’s assistance to
normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations.

`As mayor of Diyarbakir, I would like to show maximum activity and
initiative. We should not forget that Armenians lived in this region,
both in Mesopotamia and in Anatolia, for long time. It is unacceptable
that the relationships have not been normalized yet,’ he said.
“Present generation is not to blame for what happened, but is obliged
to say: yes, there was a massacre, and we are sorry about this.
However, my words are not enough. It should be stated by prime
minister, president and parliament. Then we will go to Yerevan to lay
flowers at the Monument to Armenian Genocide victims and normalization
will start.’

watch video at

From: A. Papazian


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