Armenian community figure in Turkey believes that 1915 incidents can be solved by impartial historians.
The 1915 events should be investigated by Turkish and Armenian officials and impartial historians, avoiding external intervention, an Armenian community figure has said.
Istanbul-based Surp Prgich (Holy Savior) Armenian Hospital foundation’s board of directors, Bedros Sirinoglu, spoke to The Anadolu Agency in Ankara on Wednesday about the ongoing controversy surrounding the tragic incidents of 1915.
“We trust in our country. We are citizens of the Turkish Republic. We do not want to see our country hurt, certainly. I underline that if impartial and independent historians and officials of the two countries can meet, I believe that these problems could be solved as soon as possible,” he said.
Sirinoglu said that he felt sorrow about events that happened in the past weeks.
Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution recognizing the 1915 events as "genocide." It came three days after Pope Francis also called the 1915 incidents a "genocide," drawing sharp criticism from the Turkish government.
“Armenia has also experienced difficulties as a result of these events,” Sirinoglu claimed.
Sirinoglu described as “positive” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 2014 statement commemorating the April 24 anniversary of the tragic incidents of 1915. He also praised Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s condolences offered earlier this week to the grandchildren of Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives during World War I.
“I do not want neither my country – Turkey – nor Armenia to be offended. These events are our common grief. Many people were killed from the Armenian side and also our Muslim brothers,” Sirinoglu added.
Sirinoglu also praised the Turkish government’s moves to improve minority rights.
In February, the Turkish government returned more than 1,000 properties which once belonged to non-Muslim minorities in what it described “the biggest restitution in (Turkish) history.”
In June 2014, President Erdogan said the AK Party government had returned confiscated assets worth $2 billion to Turkey’s ethnic and religious minorities.
Turkey has called for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and the opening of archives to study and uncover what happened between the Ottoman empire and its Armenian citizens.
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. The relocation by the Ottomans of Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey does not dispute that there were deaths on both sides, but rejects the definition of "genocide."