(AFP) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder expressed support Friday for a Turkish proposal to create a joint commission of experts with Armenia to study the disputed history of the mass killings of Armenians by Turks in 1915.
"The proposal of the Turkish Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) is good and this path should be followed," Schroeder said during an interview with Turkish television station NTV before his May 3-4 visit to Turkey.
However the German chancellor said it was important that a "nation looks at its history with a sense of self-criticism". Schroeder added that this question would "never" be a pre-condition imposed on Turkey -- which rejects the Armenian claim of a genocide -- for its entry into the European Union.
Ankara fears that the genocide allegations could fuel anti-Turkish sentiment in international public opinion at a time when it is vying for EU membership. Erdogan said Friday Turkey could normalize relations with Armenia at the same time as undertaking the study of the Armenian massacres. Turkey had previously demanded that Armenia first abandon its campaign for the recognition of the World War I massacres as genocide.