(AFP) - Turkey will not bow to European Union pressure to recognize the World War I killings of Armenians as genocide as a condition for joining the EU, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said Thursday.
"We are witnessing efforts to bring many issues not directly related to our (EU) membership process before us as covert conditions," among them allegations that more than a million Armenians were victims of genocide under Ottoman rule, Sezer told a press conference at the military academy here.
"It is wrong and unjust for our European friends to press Turkey on these issues," he said. "They should know that it is not possible for demands imposed on us and devoid of just foundations to be accepted."
Turkey has recently faced mounting calls from within the EU, which it hopes to join, to acknowledge the massacres as genocide, something it systematically rejects. Some EU politicians have said that the genocide claims will be one of the issues Turkey must address as it prepares to launch lengthy membership talks with the EU on October 3.
"These claims (of genocide) upset and hurt the feelings of the Turkish nation," Sezer said. "What needs to be done is research, investigate and discuss history, based on documents and without prejudice. "The basis of such discussions should be scientific and not political," he said.