Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Turkey's PM Erdoğan Almost Admits Armenian Genocide,Talks About 'Shared Pain'
Turkey's Islamist PM Tayyip Erdoğan is definitely under strain. Today, on on the eve of the day Armenians world wide memorialize the victims of the Turkish genocide that occurred in 1915, Erdoğan became the first Turkish politician in history to actually admit that something evil just might have occurred:
Turkey has issued a first-ever statement offering condolences to the descendants of slain Ottoman Armenians just a day before of 99th anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan highlighted the “shared pain” endured during the 1915 events in a historic statement April 23 on the Armenian issue, expressing 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 a first-of-its-kind statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Erdoğan said April 24 carries “particular significance for our Armenian citizens and for all Armenians around the world.”
Speaking to reporters April 23, Erdoğan said it was always Turkey that had taken steps for reconciliation but that it was now the Armenian side’s turn to take steps toward Turkey.
“It is indisputable that the last years of the Ottoman Empire were a difficult period, full of suffering for Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Armenian and millions of other Ottoman citizens, regardless of their religion or ethnic origin,” wrote Erdoğan.
“Millions of people of all religions and ethnicities lost their lives in the First World War,” he added. “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.”
This is typical Islamist doublespeak. Until now, rather than 'taking steps towards reconciliation', the Turks have denied the Armenian genocide ever occurred, imprisoned and even murdered Turkish writers and academics who wrote or spoke about it, and leaned on foreign governments who passed or attempted to pass resolutions mentioning it.
And contrary to Erdoğan's statement, it was the Turks doling out those 'inhumane consequences' and Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians who were almost exclusively at the receiving end.
But this is still a surprising first step for a Turkish leader in even acknowledging what happened. An attempt at reparations by Turkey to the descendants of genocide victims similar to what Germany provided to Holocaust victims would be a necessary second one to keep the process going.