YEREVAN, April 23. / ARKA /. Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan offered his condolences on Wednesday to the grandchildren of Armenians killed during the First World War, according to news reports.
In a statement issued on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian genocide, committed by the government of the Ottoman Turkey, Erdogan described the events of 1915 as "inhumane."
Erdogan's statement - released in nine different languages including Armenian - repeated previous calls for dialogue between the two countries, and the setting up of a historical commission to probe the events surrounding the massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Turkey.
“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. It is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early 20th century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren," he said.
At the same time he said that the events of 1915 should not be used to create political discord today, and that the events should be analyzed from a just perspective.
"Having experienced events which had inhumane consequences - such as relocation - during the First World War, should not prevent Turks and Armenians from establishing compassion and mutually humane attitudes among towards one another," he said.
"Using the events of 1915 as an excuse for hostility against Turkey and turning this issue into a matter of political conflict is inadmissible," he added.
Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations. Ankara closed the border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan. The uneasy relationship between the countries is caused particularly by Ankara’s support to Azerbaijan on Karabakh problem and Turkey’s overreaction to international recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. -0-