Many Armenian have expressed disappointment following the Turkish prime minister’s statement on Wednesday that he “shared their pain”, and that the mass deaths of 1915 were “inhumane”.
His statement came the day before the 99th anniversary, remembered in a ceremony in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Thursday and in Armenian communities around the world.
Armenia has always claimed the events in the midst of WWI were a “genocide” of their people living in the former Ottoman empire.
It is claimed 1.5 million people died in fighting, repression and forced displacements. For many Turks, however, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s words were an unprecedented expression of condolence.
“I think the Turkish government realised that an announcement had to be made in this way, with a humanitarian approach. This is an important step but falls short as it is very delayed and bigger steps need to be taken. If you wait 99 years to say something, you need to say different things,” remarked Turkish-Armenian journalist Aris Nalci.
Armenia wants an apology, and acceptance that a genocide took place. For some this was a significant step forward; for others it was just another lie designed to head off international criticism a year before the centenary of the slaughter.