Hurriyet, Turkey
Dec 30 2011

WWI inflicted pain on everyone, Davuto─?lu says

Friday, 30 December 2011

Davuto─?lu says not only Armenians but also Turks suffered during World
War I and calls on other nations that suffered at that time to share
and respect it.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto─?lu has called on Armenians and other
nations who lived under Ottoman rule to share the pain suffered during
World War I but also show respect to Turkish suffering.

Speaking at a conference in Edirne yesterday, Davuto─?lu said French
politicians `are trying to build a new history on the suffering of

`Every nation thinks its suffering is unique; however, we can
understand the suffering of all nations because we suffered the most,'
the minister told the conference at Trakya University titled `From
Balkan War to Balkan Peace: Turkish Foreign Policy on its 100th

`We respect our neighbors with whom we lived together for 10
centuries. We invite them to share our common pains on condition they
respect ours,' he said. He also pointed to the huge loss of life Turks
suffered during the dissolution years of the Ottoman Empire when it
was invaded by Western powers. `To expect people to forget their own
pain and to declare a nation guilty by birth without even giving it
the right to self-defense is unacceptable,' the minister said. `A
common history does not mean a history with one-sided suffering that
forgets the suffering of another nation.'

Referring to the French bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian
`genocide,' Davuto─?lu called on the French Senate, which is the next
legislative stage for the bill, `not to make imperialist plans on the
suffering of others.'

He pointed to the example of the Republic of Turkey founder Mustafa
Kemal Atat├╝rk, who embarked on a mission of reconciliation with Greece
after he led the Turkish victory against invading Greek troops during
the Turkish War of Independence.

`He did not build a nation upon hostility. He could have incited his
people as the founder of a new nation state, and could have made his
nation keep its pain alive. However, he did not do so but instead
extended his hand to [Greek leader] Venizelos, because a leader like
Atat├╝rk was the outcome of a 10 century blend,' Davuto─?lu said.

`I am not saying it only for [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy.
French leaders have progressed by making other nations suffer, and now
they are trying to build a new history on the suffering of others,' he

In further remarks, Davuto─?lu urged the European Union to lift visa
restrictions for trips between Balkan cities and Turkey. `Those who
put visa barriers between Turkey and Europe are the ones who stand in
the way of the normalization of history,' Davuto─?lu said. He charged
that some countries were `trying to build a wall between Edirne and
Skopje,' but `one day that wall will collapse.'

Friday, 30 December 2011