“April 24 is a date of special importance to all Armenians in our country and around the world. It is a proper occasion for a free exchange of opinions and views regarding the course of history. It cannot be denied that the last years of the Ottoman Empire were very harsh and full of sorrows for millions of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Armenians and other nationalities, regardless their ethnicity or religion”, Erdogan said in an official statement published on Wednesday. He called for studying history without making it a political instrument and expressed the hope that peoples having ancient and similar customs and traditions would be able to look back on the past and their losses together and with dignity.
Erdogan wished peace to the souls of the Armenians who perished at the beginning of last century. He also expressed condolences to their grandchildren. He added that attempts to pick out historical events in order to provoke new conflicts and rivalry today were absolutely unacceptable.
The Republic of Turkey has suggested creating a joint panel of Turkish, Armenian and other international specialists in order to investigate the events of 1915. Such a probe would greatly contribute to the proper coverage of what is now history, Erdogan said, stressing that the Turkish authorities had opened access to hundreds of thousands of archive documents to history experts.
The controversy over the 1915 massacres has overshadowed Turkey-Armenia relations for decades.
Ankara refuses to acknowledge 1915 saw acts of genocide.