Armenian President Serge Sarkissian said Thursday he expected a “stronger message” from his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the centenary of the 1915 massacres in order to unblock frozen relations.

In a rare interview with Turkish television, Sarkissian said: “I hope President Erdogan sends a stronger message on April 24 and that relations can be normalized.”

He said Turkey had a “moral duty” to recognize the mass killing carried out by  Ottoman forces during World War I.

“It is obvious that a reconciliation between the two peoples will have to come about through Turkey recognizing the genocide,” he told CNN-Turk.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday that his country “shared the suffering” of the descendants of the Armenians killed between 1915 and 1917 and sent his condolences.

The previous year Erdogan had delivered a similar message for the April 24 anniversary commemorations.

Turkey has always vehemently rejected the term genocide and claims that hundreds of thousands were killed on both sides in the chaos of war.

Sarkissian also said he was ready to ratify a normalization of relations agreed in 2009 with Ankara, if Turkey was willing to do the same.

The border between the two remains shut because of tensions over the genocide issue and Armenia’s simmering conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region.

 

AFP

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