SAN FRANCISCO (Combined Sources)–Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was in San Francisco on July 7 to rub elbows with US media moguls in a bid to attract more foreign investment.
Speaking for more than two hours at a forum organized by the World Affairs Council and The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco–Erdogan focused mostly on international terrorism–but also spoke about his country’s relations with Armenia and the Armenian genocide.
He said that if necessary–Turkey is prepared to come face-to-face with its past. "We have nothing to hide; we have confidence in our history–it is impossible that our forefathers would have done anything like this," he asserted about the Armenian genocide. He also advised the US not to succumb to Armenian pressure.
According to Erdogan–Turkey has taken important steps to clarify assertions that presently harm Turkish Armenian relations. "We don’t think it is right [for Armenia’s] to interpret history so as to transfer feelings of hate generations. We don’t hold hatred. But there are countries who have nothing to do with this issue that have adopted political decisions which will not help to remedy the situation." Erdogan said he would expect American Armenia’s to play a more constructive role.
He said that Armenia–instead of pulling out of Mountainous Karabagh–is trying to portray its actions as legitimate–through its various worldwide lobbying efforts. "This is unacceptable. The only country [in the region] that does not have the courage to benefit from neighborly relations is Armenia; Armenia’s shortsightedness and unhealthy policy is a waste of time for its people."
Erdogan lamented the international community’s snubbing of Turkish occupied Northern Cyprus. "Greek Cypriots were admitted into the European Union. Turkish Cypriots are still facing international isolation," he said. "What have the Turkish Cypriots done to deserve such an isolation? How can human rights activists justify discrimination that Turkish Cypriots are facing in the island?" He pointed out a recent visit by three US Congressmen to Northern Cyprus as a positive development "aimed at breaking the political isolation of the Turkish Cypriots."
Asked by a reporter how the terrorist attacks in London affect Turkey’s EU bid–Erdogan said that–”British authorities say that the bomb attacks were against whole humanity and all civilizations and they show a calm attitude against terrorism. This is our common problem. We can’t target one religion or one country and accuse them… It would be wrong to say that this/that terrorist organization did this attack before getting clear evidence. This is the aim of terrorism–to be able to spread propaganda all the time. And we politicians should not be a tool of it.”