Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
290. Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position on the proposal to officially recognise the actions of the Ottoman Empire against the Armenian nation in 1915 as genocide; the reason for the official position here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18920/09]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheál Martin): The Deputy will be aware that the events which resulted in the tragic deaths of very large numbers of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire more than ninety years ago continue to affect relations between Turkey and Armenia, whose historical interpretations of these events diverge sharply. The Turkish Government has proposed the establishment of a joint commission, composed of eminent academics, to investigate and determine the facts of this tragic episode in their shared history.
While it has not yet been possible to move forward on the basis of this proposal, last month’s announcement of a roadmap for the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Turkey is a positive step for the two countries’ relations. I hope it will lead to the opening of diplomatic missions and the re-establishment of trade links that were cut off by the closure of the common border in 1993. Although official details of the roadmap have not yet been made public, it appears likely that it will indeed include a mechanism to allow for a joint study of the period and an investigation of claims relating to Armenian deaths. This may lead to a common understanding of the tragic events. I am sure the Deputy shares my view that due regard must be had to the sensitivity of the issues involved and that we should support all efforts to resolve them.
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