Opposition MP proposes Turkish parliament declare massacre of Armenians a genocide

Garo Paylan, an Armenian lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on Saturday submitted a motion asking the Turkish parliament to declare the mass killings of Armenians over a century ago a genocide, the Turkish-Armenian bilingual Agos weekly reported.

“The Armenian Genocide took place in these lands, and justice can only be achieved in Turkey,” Paylan said in a statement on Saturday.

“Turkey can heal the wounds of the Armenian people. I respectfully remember the victims of the genocide, who have waited for justice for 106 years,” he said.

On April 24 President Joe Biden became the first US leader to use the term genocide in an annual message on the anniversary of the 1915-1916 massacres.

“We remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” President Biden said in a statement.

“Words cannot change or rewrite history,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted moments after President Biden announced his decision.

“No one has benefited from the discussions which in fact must be made by historians but have been politicized by third parties and turned into a tool of intervention against our country,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday in a message addressing Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Sahak Mashalian. “I once again remember with respect the Ottoman Armenians whom we lost during the First World War, share the grief of their relatives and offer my regards and affection to you all.”

“I believe that building our identity solely upon the pains left by the past to our souls is also a grave injustice to new generations,” President Erdoğan said.

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