STRASBOURG, France—Turkish foreign minister, Ahemt Davutoglu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during separate presentations at the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe Wednesday denied the Armenian Genocide and reiterated Turkey’s commitment to Azerbaijan when confronted with questions from the panel.
In response to a question from Armenia’s PACE delegate Armen Rustamian about the Turkey-Armenia protocols, Erdogan said that Turkey could not allow “Armenia to usurp the rights of Azerbaijan.”
An Azeri PACE delegate, Rafel Huseynov asked Davutoglu about plans by Karabakh to open the Stepanakert airport. The Turkish foreign minister said that Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which Turkey is chairing, had not discussed the matter.
“As Foreign Minister of Turkey, I want to underline again that this type of provocative actions will not help any process for a political settlement on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. They are provocative actions by Armenia, and they should be stopped in order to open, facilitate or accelerate the continuing talks between President Aliyev and President Sarkisian through the Minsk process,” said Davutoglu.
A question from another Armenian PACE delegate, Zaruhi Postanjyan, raised eyebrows for Davutoglu.
“It is no secret that Turkey has occupied western Armenia, northern Cyprus and other territories, leaving the indigenous people without homelands, and that Turkish occupation has led only to the great dispossession of which I stand before you as an unwilling descendant. The Ottoman Empire committed the crime of genocide against such diverse nations and ethnic groups as the Armenians, the Greeks and the Assyrians, among others. Today, in order to avoid responsibility and liability for crimes committed against humanity, the Turkish Government is using Article 301 of the Criminal Code to deny and distort the historical record,” stated Postanjyan asking Davutoglu about steps as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, was he taking to make “the Turkish Government face this historical truth honestly and sincerely, and to take the first steps towards recognition of the Armenian genocide and the abolition of Article 301.”
Davutoglu brushed aside Postanjyan’s question, calling it “a one-sided statement read from a paper, repeating the same accusations.”
“In our last session, I underlined that what we needed was a just memory. If everybody judges on his or her own memory, there will be no mutual respect and understanding. It is better for Turkish and Armenian people to come together and establish a historical commission to discuss this. We offered that in 2005, and from 2005 until now we have been expecting a positive reply to our call to research all the historical events together, or with third parties, based on the historical archives rather than one-sided memories. One day I am sure that a new generation from both nations – and we hope it will be our generation – will come together to share and discuss all the historical texts rather than accusing each other and using the matter for political objectives. This is our call as Turkey: please come and accept our offer to establish a commission to study all the events. Using rhetoric will only harm our nations. It is better to be fair and study all the events in a much more open-minded manner, in the spirit of a global approach,” said Davutoglu.
In response to Rustamian’s questions on Turkey’s position on the protocols, Erdogan also said that Armenia was stalling the protocols ratification process because it was being pressured by the Diaspora.
“The Armenian side was taking a back seat [on the protocols] to deal with the problems of its Diaspora,” said Erdogan