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TURKISH HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS SAY GOVERNMENT MUST APOLOGIZE TO ARMENIANS

ISTANBUL, MARCH 17, ARMENPRESS: Two Turkish human rights activists, Alhan Bilgen and Yusuf Alatash, said public debates about the Armenian genocide within the Turkish society are taking place in an uneasy atmosphere raising the concerns of Turkish Armenians.

In an interview with a Turkish daily Yeni Safag, Bilgen said public discussions on the Armenian genocide must be free of accusations of the Armenian race in order “not to offend Turkish Armenian citizens.”

“Like the current government of Turkey bears no responsibility for massacres of Armenians in the World War I, likewise Turkish Armenians bear no responsibility for the actions of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation/ Dashnaktsutyun,” he said, adding that Turks must realize that Turkish Armenians, Armenians in other foreign countries and those in Armenia proper are different.

Calling on the government of Turkey to acknowledge that Armenians were deported in mass in the beginning of the 20-th century, Bingel said it was done to prevent the revolution plotted by Armenian nationalists. “The deported Armenians were Turkish citizens and the responsibility for the deaths occurred during the deportation lies on the Ottoman government, but nevertheless, the Turkish government must apologize for those them,” he said.

Alatash in turn was quoted as saying that the latest debates on the Armenian genocide “have deteriorated the state of national minorities in Turkey.” “The debates have placed Armenians out of the frying pan into the fire. Diaspora Armenians demand that they should join their campaign for the genocide recognition, while Turks call them traitors,” he said adding also that present day Turks must apologize for what their grandparents did to Armenians.

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