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Erdogan, Putin talk about Ukraine in phone call

The call comes ahead of Turkish president's visit to Ukraine on Friday

18.03.2015
Erdogan, Putin talk about Ukraine in phone call

ANKARA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Tuesday, Turkish sources said.

During the 30-minute conversation, the two leaders exchanged opinions on finding a solution to the Ukraine crisis as well as the problems faced by the Crimean Tatars, sources said.

The 1915 events in the Ottoman Empire were also brought up briefly, and Erdogan said that Turkey preferred that this topic and the history be approached from "a fair perspective."

Erdogan also said that Armenia did not heed calls for peace, and was not keen on the Turkish proposal to establish a joint history commission.

Both leaders also expressed their willingness to further bilateral ties.

The phone call comes ahead of the Turkish president's visit to Ukraine on Friday.

The 1915 events took place during World War I. A portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted against the empire. A decision by the Ottoman Empire to relocate Armenians in eastern Anatolia followed the revolts and there were some Armenian casualties during the relocation process.

Armenia terms the events as "genocide" and has demanded compensation, whereas Turkey officially refutes this description, saying that the past experiences were a great tragedy and that both parties suffered heavy casualties, but that it is impossible to define these incidents as "genocide."

The Turkish government has repeatedly called on historians to study Ottoman archives pertaining to the era in order to uncover what actually happened between the Ottoman government and its Armenian citizens. 

The debate on "genocide" and the differing opinions between the present day Turkish government and the Armenian diaspora, along with the current administration in Yerevan, continues to generate political tension between Turks and Armenians. 

In January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent invitation letters to more than 100 leaders, including Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, to participate in the commemoration of the Battle of Canakkale on April 24.

Sargsyan reportedly denounced Erdogan's invitation as a "short-sighted" attempt to overshadow the 100th anniversary of the 1915 events, according to armenianow.com.

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