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Armenian President Says History Panel With Turkey Makes 'No Sense'

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian
YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said there is currently no point in establishing a joint Turkish-Armenian study of the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

"The creation of a [Turkish-Armenian history] commission would make sense only if Turkey finally confessed its guilt," he said in an interview with the German magazine "Der Spiegel" that was published over the weekend. "After that scholars would be able to jointly determine the causes of that tragedy."

In two protocols signed last October, the Armenian and Turkish governments agreed to set up a joint commission tasked with normalizing their historically strained relations. It would be divided into several subcommissions specializing on various issues.

One of those subcommissions would engage in an "impartial scientific examination of historical documents and archives." This was widely seen as a joint assessment of the Armenian massacres.

"Ankara is interested only in delaying decisions," "Der Spiegel" quoted Sarkisian as saying. "Every time the parliaments or governments of foreign states try to adopt genocide resolutions, they would say, 'Let's first wait for the findings of the historical commission.'"

"Setting up such a commission would mean calling into question the fact of the genocide perpetrated against our people," he said, echoing a key argument of
Armenian opponents of his conciliatory line on Turkey.