‘Turkey Must Re-Evaluate its Past,’ Says ARF Bureau Member

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Levon Mkrtchyan said at a press conference with Turkish journalists Saturday, that in order to establish dialogue between Armenia and Turkey, “Turkey must re-evaluate its past.”

Mkrtchyan was joined by ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamian during a press conference on the sidelines of Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Armenia Saturday.

“We have approached the Armenian leadership’s position of establishing relations with Turkey without pre-conditions with understanding, since we believe that after establishment of such relations, true dialogue can begin between our peoples aimed at addressing important issues,” said Mkrtchyan.

“It would be impossible for our people to coexist together without the appropriate evaluation of the past,” said Mkrtchyan, adding that it is imperative to recognize the Armenian Genocide and acknowledge all the issues that stem from that.

Rustamian echoed his colleague’s sentimen’s, adding that approaches, which ignore or side-step issues in formulating the relations were unacceptable.

He also said that in the process to normalize relations, it is in fact, Turkey that has placed pre-conditions on the process, by proposing the formation of a council of historians to evaluate the veracity of the Genocide.

The press conference was part of a series of protest events organized by the ARF on the occasion of the Gul visit.

Thousands of ARF supporters greeted Gul’s motorcade from Yerevan airport with placards reading "No to genocide" and "Accept the truth." The party continued its protest with a candlelight vigil at the Dzidzernagapert Memorial monument.

Thousands of protesters demanded that Turkey recognize the Genocide, as Gul drove through the Armenian capital Saturday.

Gul’s motorcade traveled from Yerevan airport Saturday along streets lined with thousands of people holding placards reading, in English and Armenian, "We want justice,"Turkey admit your guilt," and "1915 never again."

Others held up the names of places in eastern Turkey from where they said their ancestors had been forced to leave under an Ottoman policy of uprooting Armenian communities. "I am from Van," said one placard, printed in white letters on black like a funeral notice.

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