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CAUCASUS > Turkish FM: 1915 Armenian deportation inhumane

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Staging a landmark visit to Yerevan, FM Davutoğlu declares the Ottoman deportation of Armenians in 1915 to have been ‘wrong’ and ‘inhumane’

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Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu shakes hands with his Armenian opposite number, Edward Nalbandian, after the latter arrived in Yerevan for regional talks following years of icy relations. AFP photo

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu shakes hands with his Armenian opposite number, Edward Nalbandian, after the latter arrived in Yerevan for regional talks following years of icy relations. AFP photo

The “deportation” of Armenians in 1915 was inhumane, and Turkey has never supported the move, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday as he made a landmark visit to the country’s long-time foe, Armenia.

Accompanied by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Davutoğlu visited Yerevan for the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) group meeting. The top diplomat met with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, on the sidelines of the summit.

“We are very pleased with the meeting with Nalbandian; it was candid. The primary aim is to build an environment of dialogue on a strong basis,” Davutoğlu said after the meeting, while dismissing claims that he suggested to Armenia that it withdraw from two regions in Nagorno-Karabakh.

 Davutoğlu expressed his hope that a collective consciousness between the two countries could be created with a “just memory.”

“We say ‘just memory.’ What I mean with that is we should know the facts. Then we see that Turkish-Armenian relations do not date back like German-Jewish ties. In every street, there is a common sign.
After you discover this, then you see the deportation, which I see as a totally wrong practice done by [the Ottoman-era rulers under the Committee of Union and Progress]. It was inhumane,” Davutoğlu told a group of reporters en route to Yerevan.

Yerevan wants Ankara to recognize the mass killings of Armenians during the forced deportation in World War I as genocide, but Turkey has steadfastly refused to do so.

“But when you write a history taking the deportation into account, then a collective conscious was created from this side [Turkey] that Armenians betrayed their nation and deserved the deportation.
We should destroy these two collective consciousnesses. We abolished this wrong consciousness in 2005, but Armenians still have it,” he told reporters. 

Primary aim not to open border

“Our primary aim is not open only the Turkish-Armenian border but to form a foundation that will pave the way for a comprehensive peace,” Davutoğlu said. “It has three pillars. The first one is relations between Turkey and Armenia. The second one is Azerbaijani-Armenian relations. This also includes Georgian-Abkhaz ties. The third one is relations between Turks and Armenians,” he said.

Turkey and Armenia signed protocols in 2009 to establish diplomatic relations and open their sealed borders, but neither succeeded in completing the process for different reasons. 

“If one of the pillars is crippled, it will create distress. Let’s say we opened the Armenian border gate. If a war breaks out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, then we would be forced to close it again. The hardest thing is to defrost the iceberg of the status quo. You could start a war when you trying to defrost it,” he said.

The foreign minister said they were holding talks with the Armenian diaspora but were not publicizing the matter. “In the past, talking with the diaspora has been perceived as a threat or aimed for intelligence issues. Diplomats thought, ‘What would I do?’ if it were recorded. But now it has become a duty. Since that time, whenever I go abroad I meet with the Armenian community if there is one. We don’t publicly announce the people we meet due to the fact that extremist Armenians would cause problems,” he said. “What we realize is that if you cannot provide a basis in ties with the diaspora, that puts pressure on ties with Armenia and it becomes deadlocked.”

December/13/2013

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Ken Alden

12/29/2013 3:07:05 PM

It certainly was high time for Turkey to adress the issue of Armenian Deportatations, that was nececiated by urgent military necessaties of Armenian Guerilla warfare! It is also proper time for Turkey to acknowledge that the result of those action was a Tragedy of Inhumane proportions! It is also high rime now, for the Armenians to step forward and accept responsibilities for their role that caused that inhumane tragedy, rather than obsolve themselfes as heroic freedom fighters for independence!

turkic voice

12/24/2013 1:09:10 AM

@ Mehman Novruzlu Armenian ancestors cannot terrorizes and murder Turks, Kurd, Azeris and even Armenians that did not support the revolting Armenians in there terrorist acts and expect to get away with it. this is called treason and a relocation is more than justified as agreed among 180 nations of the world, case closed.

Mehman Novruzlu

12/21/2013 9:48:44 AM

Does that mean that soon Davudoglu will say “We regret that our ancestors were wrong when they did atrocities in eastern Turkey and were cause of 1.5 mln. Armenians killings, so we are ready to compensate and accommodate 200 000 Armenians back in their ancient territories and Turkish government will provide subsidies to them to build houses and etc.?” Is it really, where Turkey is heading? I feel sorry for my Turkish brothers and sisters…

turkic voice

12/17/2013 7:50:31 AM

@jim handley you see that is another Armenian lye (actually widely accepted genocide) it is not widely accepted there are approximately 200 nations in the world and an embarrassing little 20 nations only recognise it as a genocide.......

Murat

12/16/2013 12:25:48 AM

Jim bey, Ottoman policy of resettlement was and is widely condemned. Those leaders found responsible for atrocities committed in the process were tried in Ottoman courts and convicted and many were hanged. Others Armenians blamed for their misery were hunted and murdered one by one by blood thirsty Armenians. Is that what you had in mind for your beloved Israelis if and when they complete their ethnic cleansing of Palesitinans?

turkic voice

12/15/2013 10:37:50 PM

I would like to have heard FM Davutoğlu say " we regret what happened between our nations we both acknowledge the wrongs done between us and we make evident our friendship, trust and peace by this simple gesture of hand shake. To a strong and long harmonious relation.

jim handley

12/15/2013 9:21:36 PM

@Ken Alden - too funny. When it comes to the Turkish resettlement (actually widely accepted genocide) of the Armenians you have no problem. But you don't think it pertains to the West Bank arabs resettling in Jordan, Gaza or Egypt which solves the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Might want to be consistent.

Falk Bernard

12/15/2013 6:50:51 PM

It's good to see so many Turks and supporters know the other side of the story and reject the Armenian version of the history. @turkic voice, I advice also: * The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story - prof. Heath W. Lowry. * Death and Exile, The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims 1821-1922’ - prof. Justin McCarthy * Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War’ - Edward J. Erickson * 'The Armenian File' - Kamuran Gurun

Ata Dizdar

12/15/2013 5:25:02 PM

Also, considering what the Armenians did in Khojaly, Azerbaijan, they're ones to talk in terms of massacres. Perhaps a tangent, but still, somewhat relevant to this conversation. This is considering that Armenians consider Turks and Azeris one in the same anyway.

Ata Dizdar

12/15/2013 5:21:21 PM

By the way, there is a valuable website for everyone called "Tall Armenian Tale". That will basically explain everything the Turks have done for the last near 100 years, but no Western country will listen to.
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