The New Anatolian
April 30 2005

Istanbul MP Elekdag: Some exploit 'genocide' issue to cripple
Turkey's EU bid
The New Anatolian / Istanbul

Sukru Elekdag, Istanbul deputy for the main opposition Republican
People's Party (CHP), said on Wednesday that the issue of the
so-called Armenian genocide is being used by other states to handicap
Turkey's European Union membership, and to force Turkey to make
concessions.

Speaking at a conference entitled "The So-called Armenian Genocide
Claims and Responses" held at Bahcesehir University, Elekdag stated
that Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have been working hard to push
states to recognize their claims, and that, as a result, the
parliaments of 14 countries might push to recognize the so-called
genocide in the European Parliament.

Saying that Turks and Armenians have lived together in peace and
tolerance for 800 years, and that Armenians played key roles in the
Ottoman Army and administration, Elekdag said that Turks have never
harbored feelings of racial hatred.

He stated that the emigration law was enforced by the Ottoman Empire
during the withdrawal of Ottoman forces after the Sarikamis defeat to
secure their backs as they were threatened by Armenian guerillas. He
added, "If the Ottomans had chosen to force the Armenians to fight
against the invading Russians, they wouldn't be accusing Turkey of
genocide."