BOGOTA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Armenia to examine the 1915 events through the lens of science and not politics, while also expressing his reproach over the rejection of Turkey’s invitation to representatives of the county to attend war commemoration ceremonies, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
“Let us remove the 1915 events from the area of politics and refer to science and scientists,” Erdogan said during a symposium on the topic, co-organized by Bogota Externado University and Ankara University.
Erdogan attended the event as part of his official visit to Colombia on Feb. 10 and said “what the Armenians did against the Turks and what the Turks did against the Armenians 100 years ago has not been properly discussed.”
“We have made an effort to fix relations with Armenia and to open a new page,” the Turkish president said. “Unfortunately, our peace hand has always been rejected by the influence of Armenian diaspora.”
In January, the Turkish president sent invitation letters to more than 100 leaders, including Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, to participate in the ceremonies on April 24 marking the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli in Çanakkale, which coincides with the day of remembrance for the Armenian victims of the 1915 events.
Sarkisian reportedly denounced Erdogan’s invitation as a “short-sighted” attempt to overshadow the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
“We would like them to come and be in Çanakkale on April 24, to breathe in that atmosphere and try to understand that happened among our hundreds of thousands of martyrs. But they didn’t do that,” he said.
“They once again blocked the peace and dialogue with their statement violating courtesy protocols,” he stated, vowing “not to give up on our efforts for peace and dialogue.”
“We will continue to approach this issue under the light of history and science, not with propaganda, perception games or ugly international politics,” he stressed. “We will not give up in our efforts for peace and dialogue with respect to the 1915 events,” Erdogan said.