Davutoğlu says Armenian-Turkish relations may enter ‘new era’

Davutoğlu says Armenian-Turkish relations may enter ‘new era’

PanARMENIAN.Net - Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has stated that Turkey believes Armenia and the Armenian diaspora will choose to take “bold steps like the one Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took in April”, adding that if this happens the Turkish-Armenian relations will enter a “new era.”

On the eve of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, PM Erdoğan offered “condolences on behalf of the Turkish state to the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century.”

In an article published in the spring edition of the Turkish Policy Quarterly journal, Davutoğlu said that Erdoğan’s statement should be the “foundation for further steps.”

“Erdoğan’s message of condolence should not be seen as a conjunctural step. It should be seen as a prelude for transformation of minds and memories because this is not only an offer of condolence but also a sincere invitation to all parties to ensure a common future based on lasting peace,” he said.

“A new and more grounded era of peace will reign between Turkey and Armenia if intellectuals and politicians do their part to overcome the psychological barriers on both sides and to build a ‘just memory. Otherwise, both sides will inevitably be exploited by those who benefit from a sector that feeds off the status quo,” he said.

“The ‘unjust memory’ created around the events of 1915 constitutes the most important example of this phenomenon as it mortgages the shared past and future of the Turks and Armenians,” he added, urging “open and continuous dialogue between the two sides.”

“The ‘just memory’ concept that we have frequently employed during this process is critically important. In order for Turks and Armenians to understand what each of them has experienced, it is essential that they respect one another’s memory,” Davutoğlu said.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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