Turkey to Send Delegates to Armenian Genocide Commemorations?

Posted on February 11, 2011

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The Turkish Sabah Newspaper said on Tuesday that official Ankara will “take an active” role in April 24 commemorations of the Armenian Genocide worldwide, News.am reported Tuesday.

Armenian Weekly Editor Khatchig Mouradian discusses the issue in an opinion piece here.

The report, which has yet to be substantiated by official sources, did not elaborate on the specifics of involvement.

According to Sabah, which is known to be close to the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), the participation seeks to overcome the “psychological barriers” that brought about a stalemate in rapprochement talks between Turkey and Armenia last year.

According to News.am, the gesture stems from a decision by Turkey’s National Security Council in December to develop ties with Armenian communities worldwide by “taking part in Armenian-held events.”

The report pointed to a recent visit to Auschwitz by a Turkish official as evidence of the “steps” being taken by Ankara to “help get over the psychological blows.”

“Turkey has sent its representative to commemorate the Holocaust victims,” News.am quoted Sabah as reporting. “Turkish State Minister was the first high-ranking Turkish official to visit Auschwitz.”

The state minister in question is the Turkish chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, Ahmet Cavusoglu. He visited Auschwitz on January 30 during a 70th anniversary commemoration of the Holocaust. Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian reported on Cavusoglu’s remarks at the memorial event here.

According to Sabah, the Turkish authorities “want to show a similar approach on April 24” and are calling for the active of participation Turkish diplomats in Armenians-held events.

“To establish ties with the Armenian people Turkey will first of all try to establish a dialogue with the Armenian community,” News.am quoted Sabah as reporting.

Sabah also claimed that Ankara will fold the Armenian Diaspora into the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation process, a move attempted in 2001-2004 with the discredited Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission—a US State Department initiative.

The report goes on to say that Ankara is taking the steps to prevent President Barack Obama from taking any further steps to detriment Turkey-US relations and alludes to those steps being the introduction of a new Armenian Genocide Resolution on the US Congressional agenda.

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