Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul, Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, and several local Armenians.
According to the Turkish-Armenian publication Agos, the meeting, attended by Turkish Vice Premier Bulent Arinc, FM Ahmet Davutoglu, Board Chairman of the Holy Savior Hospital Bedros Shirinoglu and others, lasted an hour and a half.
Speaking to reporters after the talks, the Armenian patriarch addressed the region’s tragic historical past. “Nobody can deny that the offsprings of tens and thousands of families lost their mothers, fathers, children and siblings. These lands have seen enough of blood. All that happened in this country. There now seems to be a corpse which has started stinking, the smell stirring up trouble in all. The two societies have to sit close next to each other. Let them read any prayer they need but the corpse must be buried until in starts decaying,” he said.
Commenting on Mr Erdogan’s April 23 address on the “shared pain”, he compared it with Patriarch Noah’s dove whose olive branch symbolized the the Holy Spirit. “We do not want that branch to get dry. We want to plant it and see the fruit. We miss the days when the two peoples lived side by side like friends,” he said.
Ateshyan said he wished Erdogan’s “message” and their visit to the future to lay the foundations of the bridge to be built between the Turks and Armenians.