Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Armenia / Turkey / Armenian Genocide

Serge Sarkisian [Armenian President] on Armenian-Turkish Relations: "We Wanted to Break Through Centuries of Hostility" [Interview]
Spiegel Online, April 6, 2010
Photo: AFP
"[...] SPIEGEL: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told SPIEGEL that on the topic of Armenians killed by Ottoman troops during World War I, "There can be no talk of genocide against the Armenians." Why does your neighbor have such difficulty with its own history?
Sarkisian: Mr. Erdogan has also said that Turks are not capable of committing genocide, and that Turkish history is "as clean and clear as the sun." Turkey resists classifying the massacre as genocide. But no matter how great Turkish resistance may be, this is not a question that is up to Ankara to decide.
SPIEGEL: Now Erdogan is even threatening to expel thousands of Armenians living illegally in Turkey.
Sarkisian: For my people, such unacceptable comments evoke memories of the genocide. Unfortunately, these comments don't surprise me, coming from the mouth of a Turkish politician. We don't need to look very far back in history to find comparable declarations. Similar voices got loud in 1988 in what is today Azerbaijan. Dozens of Armenians died in the resulting pogroms in Azerbaijani cities like Sumgait and Baku.
SPIEGEL: How should the international community act on this question?
Sarkisian: The world must react decisively. America, Europe -- Germany, too -- all the countries that were involved in the process of Turkish-Armenian rapprochement should take an official stance. If every country had already recognized the genocide, Turkey wouldn't make these kinds of statements. What gives reason for hope is that many young people in Turkey as well are protesting against these tirades. There's a new generation growing up there, and the political leadership has to take their opinions into account. [...]"

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Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ