Turkey to Recognize Genocide Within the Decade, Says Agos Editor

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Turkey will recognize the Armenian Genocide within the decade, according to an editor at Turkey’s only bilingual Armenian-Turkish daily newspaper, Agos.

“The world is changing,” Agos Armenian Editor Bagrat Estukyan told reporters in Yerevan Wednesday, noting Turkey’s aspirations to join the European Union.

He said Turkish recognition of the Genocide will come because “economic trends in both Turkey and Armenia demand reconciliation.” Turkey needs a “free economic market and it will try to come to a common ground with neighboring Armenia.”

But Turkey will not acknowledge the genocide without guarantees that Armenia has renounced territorial claims, he noted.

“It’s not an easy task for Turkey to confess to perpetrating the Genocide but it’s inevitable, since the Armenian Genocide is a historical fact,” he added. “All know what befell Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire but Ankara is still engaged in self-delusion.”

Prominent academics and writers in Turkey this month issued a public apology for “the great catastrophe” suffered by Armenia’s at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during the first world war.

Breaking one of Turkish society’s biggest taboos, the apology comes in an open letter that invites Turks to sign an online petition supporting its sentimen’s.

“These people present their personal viewpoint of the problem and do not impose it on anyone,” Estukyan said, commenting on the petition,

But the contents of the letter exposed its authors– three scholars, Ahmet Insel, Baskin Oran and Cengiz Aktar, and a journalist, Ali Bayramoglu — to the wrath of the Turkish state, which has prosecuted writers, including the Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk, for discussing the Armenian Genocide.

The letter has triggered a furious response from ultranationalists, who have labeled it a "betrayal" and an "insult to the Turkish nation".

Meanwhile, the Agos editorial staff also feels the weight of those threats, Estukyan noted, adding that the threats began before its editor, Hrant Dink was assassinated.

“People understood that Dink was assassinated for being an Armenian,” he said, noting that Dink was the first person prosecuted under the article 301.

Unfortunately the legal procedure on Dink’s assassination is being deliberately protracted, he said.

“All we have now is the accused and his several accomplices,” Bagrat Estukyan told a news conference in Yerevan Wednesday.

The judge continues to “postpone the hearings for a long period obviously to leave things as they are,” he said. “Dink’s murder shocked Turkey.”


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