April 29, 2014 - 16:33 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Only a week after expressing condolences ahead of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said “the small Armenian community still living in Turkey was proof that there was no Genocide in the past,” Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Speaking in an interview with Charlie Rose from PBS, Erdogan said “what happened in 1915 could not be described as Genocide.”
“This is not possible. Because if there were a genocide, [there would not be] Armenians still living in Turkey,” Erdogan said, reiterating that Ankara was ready to open its historical archives.
“We see genocide as a crime against humanity. We will never shut our eyes to it. We are ready to open our archives. Armenia and other third party countries should do it too,” he said, adding if documents prove it, then Turkey would apologize.
“These events did not happen under the Turkish Republic, but the Ottoman Empire. If the documents show it, then we will not avoid apologizing and accepting the consequences,” he said.
"It is our hope and belief that the peoples of an ancient and unique geography, who share similar customs and manners will be able to talk to each other about the past with maturity and to remember together their losses in a decent manner. And it is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early twentieth century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren. Regardless of their ethnic or religious origins, we pay tribute, with compassion and respect, to all Ottoman citizens who lost their lives in the same period and under similar conditions,” Erdogan's statement said.