Turkey is ready to share the pain of Armenians ahead of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reportedly said late on Tuesday.
“We want to share the pain of those who are ready to share it with us,” Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency in an interview with state-run television TRT Haber.
“It is necessary to keep channels open in order to share history,” he said in remarks cited by the AFP news agency.
Davutoglu did not say if Ankara could eventually acknowledge that some 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians were massacred during World War I in the first genocide of the 20th century.
Successive Turkish governments have for decades insisted that Armenians died in much smaller numbers and as a result of civil strife, rather than a premeditated government policy. Some Turkish leaders, notably Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have said that it was Armenians who massacred Turks.
Erdogan has repeatedly stated that Ankara will never recognize the genocide. His government has at the same time been advancing the idea of setting up a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians that would examine the highly sensitive subject.