Turkish PM rejects Armenian 'genocide' claims

Despite offering condolences last week, Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to call the events of 1915 a genocide.

Turkish PM rejects Armenian 'genocide' claims

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to call the death of Armenians during the events of 1915 a genocide, despite offering his condolences to the Armenian community last week.

During an interview on Bloomberg TV's Charlie Rose show, Erdogan was asked if it would be possible for him to describe the deaths of Armenians as a genocide, to which he replied 'no, it is not possible.'

Explaining his reason, Erdogan said 'if it had been a genocide, there wouldn't be Armenians still living in Turkey today.'

Prime Minister Erdogan made headlines last week after offering condolences to the Armenian community over the shared tragedies experienced by all people in the region during the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Although Turkey does not deny that many Armenian civilians lost their lives during clashes with Turks in 1915, Turkey refuses to recognize the incidents as a genocide as they took place within the context of a war in which both sides suffered great losses.

Many Armenians died when the Ottoman authorities deported them from Anatolia after they sided with Russia, which had occupied north-eastern Anatolia.

While some Armenians, including community leaders in Turkey, welcomed the message as a first and positive step taken by the Turkish government, others pointed out that Turkey had still not directly apologized or accepted that what took place was a genocide.

Armenian lobby groups, particularly those outside of Turkey, have been pushing European countries and the U.S. to officially declare the events of 1915 as a genocide. Turkish lobbies on the other hand point to Armenian atrocities carried out on ethnic Azeris, a Turkic race, in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Nisan 2014, 15:56