WASHINGTON (Armenpress)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday welcomed a decision by US lawmakers to what he termed as “shelving” a debate on the Armenian Genocide Resolution pending in Congress, news agencies reported
Speaking after talks in Washington with President George W. Bush, Erdogan said the House of Representatives resolution on what he termed as "the so-called Armenia genocide” has the potential to deeply damage strategic cooperation between Turkey and the US.
"We view this with cautious optimism," Erdogan said at the National Press Club, thanking the Bush administration and House members who had spoken out against the resolution for fear of its damage to ties with Turkey.
"We are ready to settle accounts with our history, but our documen’s indicate that no such genocide took place. In fact our values do not permit our people to commit genocide," the Turkish leader said.
"Those who claim it, must prove it," he said, renewing his offer to the Armenian government to set up a joint historical commission to examine the events in the last years of the dying Ottoman Empire.
“There is no genocide here. What took place was called deportation, because that was a very difficult time. It was the time of war in 1915. This was about the time when there were rebellions. There was rebellion in different parts of the Empire; Actually, Armenia’s were known to be very loyal subjects of the empire… There was provocation by some other countries, and the Armenia’s became part of the rebellion in those years and so the government of the time provided them even pocket money and started deporting the Armenian citizens at that time to other parts of the Empire and we have documen’s in our own archives, which attest to this fact. There are all sorts of instructions about how many people are to be sent from one area to another how much money is to be paid to them as pocket money as they travel. So we have all those documen’s. So what we say is those who counter those argumen’s must come up with their own documen’s, but there is no documen’s to be shown,” said Erdogan.
“The Armenian Diaspora is looking for a way to create some sort of benefit for itself and this is what they have found. If it works than they look to achieve some gains from it, if not the world will have lost some time,” added Erdogan.
Erdogan also told journalists following the meeting with President Bush that “Turkey will open the border with Armenia only after it stops the occupation of Azeri lands.”
“Armenia’s only wish is to open the border with Turkey. But you have occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. The world treats you as an aggressor. It’s necessary to stop the occupation, which continues up to now. Therefore, we shall not open the border with Armenia,” Erdogan declared.