ISTANBUL (RFE/RL) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded late last Wednesday that President Serge Sargisian withdraw and apologize for remarks which he claimed amount to Armenian territorial claims to Turkey.
The president’s office quickly denied that claim and accused the Turkish government of distorting the statements made by Sargisian at a July 23 meeting with students from Armenia and the diaspora. Sargisian also released the text of the comments.
“Sargisian committed a serious blunder , ” Erdogan said during a visit to Azerbaijan. “He himself confirmed his historical blunder.”
“He must apologize and correct his blunder,” he said at a joint news conference with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.
Erdogan referred to Sargisian’s answer to a question asked by one of the Armenian students in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor. The latter wondered whether Armenians will ever be able to reclaim lands in what is now eastern Turkey, which many of them call “Western Armenia.”
The area for centuries formed a part of Armenian kingdoms before being conquered by the Ottoman Empire. Its indigenous Armenian population was massacred or deported en masse during the Genocide.