ANKARA—A member of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) of Turkey accused the government on Wednesday of distorting history by denying the Armenian Genocide and preventing its discussion in Turkish history books.
The remarks, delivered by DTP deputy Selahittin Demirtas during a session of parliament, came immediately after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave his own speech urging parliament to ratify recently signed agreements with Armenia to open borders and normalize relations.
Demirtas, who is head of the DTP faction in the parliament, voiced his support for the Armenian-Turkish protocols, but noted that the “100-year-old problem” in the Turkish-Armenian relations still remains unsolved and needs more open discussions.
“To prove their sincerity, the Turkish authorities have to write about the Armenian massacres in their history textbooks,” he said. “The textbooks exaggerate the attacks by Armenians, but do not contain any information on the massacres of Armenians committed by Turks.”
Demirtas faulted Turkey’s authorities for “not taking any steps to put an end to the hate for Armenians in the country.” He cited as a “glaring example” the government’s lax approach to the investigation of Hrant Dink’s murder.
“History textbooks must speak in a language of peace and not of hatred,” Demirtas said, recalling a scandal that broke out last year when Canan Arıtman, a member of the Republican People’s Party (RPP), criticized Turkish President Abdulah Gul by alleging that his mother had Armenian roots.
“The government must prevent any racist claims concerning Armenian identity – and not only concerning Armenians, but all the ethnic groups,” Demirtas said, noting how the authorities prohibited the burial of the well-known singer Aram Tigran in Diyarbakir only because he was an Armenian.