00:36, 24 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Turkey should stop covering the atrocities committed by the Ottoman
Empire, and recognize the Armenian genocide, Armenia's president
Serzh Sargsyan said on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the start
of the mass killings.

"We want the modern Turkish authorities to shed the burden of the
actions of the Ottoman Empire,"Sargsyan told Russia Today doing a
sit-down interview in capital Yerevan. "The modern authorities did
not commit the genocide, but when they try to justify it, they take
responsibility for it."

Despite disagreements, in 2009, Yerevan and Ankara signed a "historic"
deal, that would lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations
and opening of the borders, but neither the Armenian, nor the Turkish
parliament have ratified it.

"The Turks don't want, from what they have shown, to establish
relations. We have demonstrated on numerous occasions that the very
moment that Turkey ratifies the document, we are ratifying it,"
said Sargsyan.

The Armenian leader, who has been in his post since 2008, accused
Turkey of imposing "preconditions" for a deal. Ankara has refused
to sign any diplomatic documents or to recognize the genocide until
Armenia officially abandons its claims for lands inside Turkey, where
Armenians lived prior to 1915. Another thorny issue is the dispute
over Nagorno-Karabakh, where Ankara has supported the Muslim Azeri
population, in its stand-off with the Christian Armenians.

"We haven't posed any preconditions to Turks. We haven't said to
them that we should recognize Armenian genocide to establish normal
relations with us, and I think our position was just and fair, and
constructive. But the Turkish side, the Turkish leadership, to be
precise, have always come up with this or that or that precondition,"
said the Armenian president.

Sargsyan additionally accused Turkey of "expanding its denial toolbox"
after it moved its centennial anniversary of the Gallipoli victory
of the Allies to April 24, to coincide with Armenia's Genocide
Remembrance Day.

"It is not acceptable if they violate the chronology and adapt it to
another date in order to divert the tension from another date. That's
where the problem is. We don't want to have a competition of dates,
and we don't want to make April 24, a Remembrance Day for Armenian
genocide victims to be in competition with Turkey, either in terms
of counting the numbers of heads of states that come here, or the
number of delegations that arrive here."

While the European parliament had a symbolic vote to recognize the
genocide, Barack Obama, who had liberally used the term prior to his
election as US President in 2008, has shied away from it in office,
presumably to avoid upsetting longtime NATO ally Turkey.

Sargsyan said the White House stance was insincere.

"I've spoken with US officials. No one there denies the genocide,
but it is simply not in America's national interest to recognize
it officially."

From: A. Papazian