ANKARA: Turkey Invites World Leaders, Including Armenian President,


Daily Sabah, Turkey
Jan 16 2015


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu have sent letters to 102 countries, inviting heads of
states, to attend commemoration ceremonies in Turkey marking the
100th anniversary of the World War I Gallipoli campaign this year on
23-24 April.

The invitation letters have also been sent to the U.S. President Barack
Obama and the Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan, to participate in
the Gallipoli centenary.

“We fought as a kind together. That’s why we have invited Sargsyan,”
a government official told the daily Hurriyet, referring to the
presence of Armenian minorities alongside Turks and other peoples in
the Ottoman army.

The ceremonies coincide exactly with the 1915 incidents of the
World War I. Armenians and the Armenian diaspora, who plan to mark
the anniversary on April 24, want the incidents to be recognized as
genocide, something Turkey has vehemently rejected.

Were Sargsyan to accept Erdogan’s invitation, his presence at Gallipoli
would mean he would likely be outside of Armenia for the commemorations
for the tragedy.

The Gallipoli campaign was one of the most famous battles of World
War I when Ottoman troops resisted an invading Allied Force seeking
control of the Gallipoli peninsula on the Dardanelles strait.

April 25, known as Anzac Day, marks the landing of Allied forces into
the peninsula, thus the start of the land campaign.

The founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as a
division commander who stopped the initial advance of Anzac troops
and confined them into a thin land strip along the shore, made his
name as a heroic military leader.

Britain, Australia and New Zealand want a flamboyant ceremony to
commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand, as well as Britain’s
Prince Charles, with his sons, are expected to take part in the
ceremony due to attract 8,500 Australians and 2,000 New Zealanders,
the newspaper said.

Last year Erdogan, then premier, offered an unprecedented expression
of condolence for the massacres of Armenians.

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