Turkish president rebukes Armenian rejection of April 24 invitation
AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on Armenia to examine the 1915 events through the lens of “science, not politics,” criticizing the rejection of Ankara’s invitation to representatives of the country to attend war commemoration ceremonies in Turkey.
“Let’s remove the 1915 events from the area of politics and refer to science and scientists,” Erdoğan said during a symposium on the topic, co-organized by Bogota Externado University and Ankara University. He was attending the event as part of his official visit to Colombia on Feb. 10.
“What the Armenians did against the Turks and what the Turks did against the Armenians 100 years ago has not been properly discussed,” Erdoğan said.
“We have made an effort to fix relations with Armenia and open a new page. Unfortunately, our hand of peace has always been rejected by the influence of the Armenian diaspora,” he added.
In January, the Turkish president sent invitation letters to more than 100 leaders, including Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, to participate in ceremonies on April 24 marking the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli in Çanakkale. The ceremonies in Çanakkale were rearranged this year to coincide with Armenia’s traditional day of remembrance for the Armenian victims of 1915.
Sargsyan reportedly denounced Erdoğan’s invitation as a “short-sighted” attempt to overshadow the 100th anniversary the massacres of Ottoman Armenians.
“We would like them to come and be in Çanakkale on April 24, to breathe in that atmosphere and try to understand that happened among our hundreds of thousands of martyrs. But they won’t do that,” Erdoğan said.
“They once again blocked peace and dialogue with their statement, which violated protocols of courtesy,” he added, while vowing “not to give up on our efforts for peace and dialogue.”
“We will continue to approach this issue under the light of history and science, not with propaganda, perception games or ugly international politics,” he stressed.
“This year is the 100th anniversary. We are still reiterating our sincere call,” Erdoğan added.