Statement by the Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu on the Commemoration of Hrant Dink
It has now been eight years since Hrant Dink was taken from us. Throughout his life, he strived, mind, heart and soul, to shed light on one of the major issues that the Ottoman Empire passed down to the Republic of Turkey. We wish patience to Dink’s bereaved family and all those who held him dear.
Hrant Dink was an invaluable Anatolian intellectual who, without compromising either his Armenian heritage or his loyalty to Turkey, sought to help find the ways and means through which Turks and Armenians may build a common future. As someone who personified Turkish-Armenian friendship, he worked selflessly and gave his all, so that the bonds of a historic coexistence could be remembered, and the deep-rooted suffering overcome. As we commemorate the anniversary of his demise, and guided by the seeds of friendship he sowed, we wish to open new paths into hearts and minds.
With this understanding, we call on all Armenians, and invite all those who believe in Turkish-Armenian friendship to contribute to a new beginning:
Having already underscored the inhumane consequences of the relocation policies essentially enforced under wartime circumstances, including that of 1915, Turkey shares the suffering of Armenians and, with patience and resolve, is endeavouring to re-establish empathy between the two peoples. Our 23 April 2014 message of condolence, which included elements of how, primarily through dialogue, we may together bring an end to the enmity that has kept our relations captive, was a testament to this determination. Only by breaking taboos can we hope to begin addressing the great trauma that froze time in 1915. For its part, Turkey has transcended this critical threshold and relinquished the generalizations and stereotypical assertions of the past.
There is every reason to believe that these two ancient nations can demonstrate the wisdom to understand each other and contemplate a future together. Having shared the same geography and a long history, it is only Turks and Armenians who can effectively address their issues together and work jointly to find ways forward.Fostering a sense of mutual trust and cooperation; getting reacquainted against the backdrop of an 800 years-old common history and promoting human interaction will be essential. Accordingly, we invite our Armenian friends to visit Turkey more often and do away with respective prejudices.
Furthermore, we will press ahead with resolve to give due recognition to the Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey and to those Armenian personalities who made inestimable contributions to Ottoman/Turkish culture.
Our desire to share in the pain, to heal the wounds and to re-establish friendships is sincere. Our course is set towards a horizon of friendship and peace.
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