Erdogan calls on intl community to leave judging incidents of 1915 up to historians
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday called on the international community to leave evaluating the incidents of 1915 up to historians alone, saying that legislators have no authority to judge historical events. Erdogan's remarks came in London during a meeting of the Turkey-Britain Business Forum on the eve of a critical motion in the British House of Commons that seeks to recognize the so-called Armenian "genocide" claims. Similar resolutions were recently passed by a key US House committee and the Swedish Parliament, straining relations between Turkey and these countries. Turkey, which strongly rejects the genocide allegations, saying the events reflected wartime civil strife which claimed the lives of Turks and Armenians alike, denounced the resolutions, warning that they jeopardize the current historic rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. In his address to the business forum meeting, Erdogan reiterated this warning. He welcomed British Justice Minister Jack Straw predicting that the resolution would not be passed by the House of Commons. Straw said only one out of 651 members of the House of Commons backs the bill and that both the opposition and the government oppose it. Erdogan said Turkey is very disturbed by efforts to accuse Turkey based on historical episodes not yet fully brought to light. He said Turkey has opened all its archives to historians, calling all related parties and third countries to do the same. "We want historians to study and clarify the events. This is what needs to be done," said Erdogan, adding that such resolutions are politically motivated and have nothing to do with reason, logic, or historic facts. On Swedish Premier Fredrick Reinfeldt's remarks on passage of such a resolution by the Swedish Parliament, Erdogan said he saw the remarks as an apology, and an expression of regret and intention to fix their mistake. In London, Erdogan also met with his British counterpart Gordon Brown to discuss a number of issues, including Cyprus and European Union-related matters, and discussed ways of improving their bilateral ties.