April 24 to be commemorated in Turkey, PM says

April 24 to be commemorated in Turkey, PM says

April 24 to be commemorated in Turkey, PM says

In this file photo, Turkish PM Davutoğlu is seen while presenting 100-article “2023 New Turkey Contract,” along with his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) election manifesto in Ankara on April 15. AA photo

The April 24, the day Armenians commemorated the mass killings of their ancestors at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during the World War I, will also be marked through a religious ceremony to be held by the Armenian Patriarchate, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, while opposing efforts to describe 1915 events as genocide.

Davutoğlu issued on April 20 a written statement only four days before the April 24 to express condolences of the Turkish government and its people for the Ottoman Armenians who have lost their lives during the mass deportation. The first of such message was delivered last year by former prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who is now the president of Turkey.

“To protect the memory of the Ottoman Armenians and the Armenian cultural heritage is a humane and historic duty of Turkey. With this understanding, the Ottoman Armenians will be commemorated in Turkey just like in the entire world through a religious ceremony to be held on April 24 by the Armenian Patriarchate,” read the statement.

A joint commemoration of the Ottoman Armenians by Turkey and Armenia would be much more meaningful, Davutoğlu said, reiterating that this mature and virtuous move would be realized in the case the history would not be used as a political tool as the Anatolian culture taught to heal wounds and to look at the future together.

“In the meantime, we also believe that facing the past in an honest way is as important as commemorating those who lost their lives in order to lighten our pains. It’s possible to identify the reasons and perpetrators of what happened during the World War I. However, demoting everything to a single word and to put the responsibility solely on the Turkish people and associating it with hate speech is consciously and legally problematic,” he stressed.

“As the grandchildren of two people who have shared the same destiny in the good and bad day a hundred years ago, our mutual responsibility is to heal the wounds and to re-establish our human bonds,” said Davutoğlu, recalling that Turkey is taking positive steps for the establishment of a common future by creating an environment in which all sorts of documents and information can be discussed. “Turkey will not be indifferent to this responsibility and will continue to do its best for friendship and peace.”