Turkey’s opposition sees condolences to Armenians as ‘apology for genocide’

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent extension of condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians killed in World War I by Ottoman forces has been criticized by opposition parties, with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) describing it as “an apology for genocide,” the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his party on April 29, MHP head Devlet Bahçeli described Erdogan’s words as “non-national.” “In his message, which was written in its entirety with a non-national look, Prime Minister Erdogan spoke of a ‘just and conscientious stance’ and understanding that era’s grievances regardless of religious and ethnic roots,” Bahçeli said.

“But the prime minister’s condolence is sort of an apology for genocide,” he added.

On the other hand, People’s Democracy Party (HDP) co-chair Sebahat Tuncel said opening state archives concerning the events of 1915, as pledged by Erdogan earlier in the day, would be a “significant but insufficient step.”

“A Truth and Justice Commission should be founded and the past should be faced,” Tuncel said, delivering a speech at the first-ever parliamentary group meeting of the HDP.

In a statement issued on April 23, the eve of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian killings, Erdogan described the events of 1915 as “inhumane,” using more conciliatory language than has been the case for Turkish leaders in the past.

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