By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish nation has never in its history committed any genocide, said a top Turkish parliamentarian on Tuesday.
Meeting with French MP Stephane Teste, the co-chair of the Turkish-French Interparliamentary Friendship Committee, Emrullah Isler, who heads parliament’s Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Committee, told how during the Ottoman era ethnic Turks and Armenians co-existed in peace.
"There is no genocide against any region in our history," said Isler, Ankara deputy of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.
"We are also against parliaments making decisions on such issues," said Isler, referring to motions in various countries on the events of 1915.
"History should be written by the historians."
Isler said Turkey has opened its archives to historians to research these events.
"While Turkey approaches this issue clearly, some parliaments' decisions on the issue upset us," he added.
Isler said that teaching about the so-called Armenian genocide in secondary schools abroad hurts students of Turkish origin living there.
"This causes a problem in our relations," he said.
-Deep Turkish-French ties
For his part, Teste said that the relations between France and Turkey have roots going back centuries.
"We want to strengthen our relations," he said.
Turkey says that during World War I, the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia occurred after some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Ankara does not accept the alleged "genocide" but acknowledges there were casualties and tragedies on both sides.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.