Erdogan reaffirms Turkey's peace efforts with Armenia over 1915 events

Turkish president says what Armenians did against Turks and what Turks did against Armenians 100 years ago was not properly discussed

Turkish president says what Armenians did against Turks and what Turks did against Armenians 100 years ago was not properly discussed

BOGOTA – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Armenia to examine the 1915 events through the lens of science and not politics.

“Let us remove the 1915 events from the area of politics and refer to science and scientists,” Erdogan said during a symposium on the topic, co-organized by the Bogota Externado University and Ankara University.

Erdogan attended the event as part of his official visit to Colombia Tuesday and said that what the Armenians did against the Turks and what the Turks did against the Armenians 100 years ago was not properly discussed.

“We have made an effort to fix relations with Armenia and to open a new page,” the Turkish president said. “Unfortunately, our peace hand has always been rejected by the influence of Armenian diaspora.”

“This year is the 100th anniversary. We are still reiterating our sincere call,” Erdogan added.

In January, the Turkish president sent invitation letters to more than 100 leaders, including Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, to participate in the commemoration of the Battle of Canakkale on April 24.

Sargsyan reportedly denounced Erdogan's invitation as a "short-sighted" attempt to overshadow the 100th anniversary of the 1915 events, according to

The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the empire. The uprisings came about after a decision by the empire to relocate Armenians in eastern Anatolia.

Armenia and Armenian diaspora term the events as "genocide" and ask for compensation, whereas Turkey officially refutes this description, saying that although Armenians died during relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.

“We will not give up in our efforts for peace and dialogue with respect to the 1915 events,” Erdogan said.

At the end of his speech, Erdogan said he is thankful to the Ankara University Research and Application Center for Latin American Studies (LAMER), an academic center that was established in 2009.

-Turkey’s “very clear” stance on Israel

Erdogan said that Turkey’s stance on Israel was very clear.

“Israel should draw back to its 1967 borders, while a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital should be established and sovereign rights of the Palestinians should be respected,” he said.

Turkey’s president added that Turkey has objected many times to Israel’s expansion policy and severe massacres.

“Turkey has paid a heavy price for terrorism in the country and is certainly and clearly against all forms of terror and terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said, adding that Turkey had no intention of interfering in a country’s borders, territory or home affairs.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency