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|Thursday, May 04, 2000, updated at 11:28(GMT+8)
No Policy Change over "Armenian Genocide": IsraelIsrael told the Turkish Foreign Ministry that there was no policy change on its side over the so-called Armenian genocide, saying that it is up to historians, not politicians, to discuss the issue, Turkish Daily News reported on Wednesday.
Turkey summoned Israeli Charge d'Affaires Moshe Kamhi last Tuesday and demanded clarification of Israeli Education Minister Yossi Sarid's statement that accounts of this alleged incident should be included into Israel's high-school curriculum.
Armenians regard killings of their compatriots by Turks during World War I as a systematic genocide, but Turkey claims that they were the "unfortunate outgrowth of deportations" intended to prevent Armenians from assisting the invading Russian armies at that time.
Armenia is pushing for a bill condemning Turkey and trying to win sympathy from the world.
One day after Sarid's statement, Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin claimed that the event was a genocide and nothing else. Both remarks created concerns on the Turkish side that a policy shift on the issue by Israel was being signaled.
It was reported that Israel had told the Turkish Foreign Ministry that the two ministers' statements were their personal opinions, not government policy on the issue.
Israel has declared that there was no change in its policy over the so-called Armenian genocide, reaffirming that it still sticks to what was expressed in 1995 that the topic should be discussed among historians, not politicians.
Drawing attention to Turkey's help to the Jews throughout history, an Israeli diplomat said that Israelis were aware of Turkey's support for Jews both before and during the Holocaust.
"Our relations with Turkey are strong and good. We have been working hard to improve the already excellent relations. We have an agenda to go ahead and strengthen bilateral relations," said the diplomat.
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