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Turkey to face up to 1915 incident of Armenia in objective, fair way: FM


09:28, December 27, 2011

ANKARA, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) --- Turkey was ready to confront the 1915 incident of Armenia only if in an objective and fair way, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday.

When reviewing the history, historians should be involved and all archives should be make sure to be open, Davutoglu was quoted by semi-official Anatolia news agency as saying.

Davutoglu made the remarks when meeting with Switzerland's President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Micheline Calmy-Rey on Monday in the capital of Ankara, saying that he hoped France could change its attitude for the benefit of peace in the Caucasus region.

Last Thursday, Turkey halts "all political consultations, joint military activities and maneuvers" in response to the French approval of a bill, which stipulates criminal sentences and fines for those who refuse to recognize the killing of Armenians in 1915 as "genocide" in France.

For his part, Calmy-Rey said that historians in Armenia and Turkey should deal with the allegations regarding the incidents of 1915 and make contribution to diplomatic discussions with their findings.

Switzerland had mediated between Turkey and Armenia and helped the two countries reach protocols in Zurich in October 2009, Calmy- Rey was quoted as saying.

Davutoglu thanked Switzerland for its active policy which had a significant effect on Turkish-Armenian normalization talks.

Despite strong protests by Turkey, French lawmakers in the National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament, voted Thursday in favor of a bill criminalizing those who refuse to recognize the killing of Armenians in 1915 as "genocide" in France. The bill will be debated next year in the French Senate.

In response, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan announced a set of sanctions against France on Thursday, saying that Turkey would impose more sanctions if the bill was passed by the French Senate.

Turkish officials said earlier that the French move aimed to win the votes of the 500,000 ethnic Armenians in France in next year's elections.

Turkey and Armenia have been bogged down in a dispute over the World War I-era deaths of Armenians under the Ottoman rule. Armenia says the deaths occurred in a "genocide," while Turkey denies the charge and insists that the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the Ottoman Empire collapsed before modern Turkey was created.

Turkey rejects the term "genocide" for killings of Armenians in the World War I era, arguing the issue should be left to historians. Ankara has proposed to establish a joint commission by Turkish, Armenian and other international historians to discuss incidents in 1915, but Armenia has not responded positively to the offer.


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