(photo credit: AP)
In a meeting with representatives of the Jewish community, Turkey's prime minister rejected allegations that the massacre of Armenians during WWI was an act of genocide.
Speaking with officials from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress and other groups, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the genocide claims were not supported by any scientific or historical documentation.
Erdogan also reiterated Turkey's call to Armenia to establish a joint commission to study historical facts, and asked the Jewish representatives to continue to support good relations between Turkey and the US Jewish community, according to a statement released following the meeting.
After disagreement between its New England chapter and national headquarters, the ADL in August recognized the massacres of Armenians as "tantamount to genocide," reversing the organization's longstanding refusal to do so. ADL's recognition stopped short of supporting two congressional resolutions that would call on the US to formally recognize the genocide.
ADL national director Abraham Foxman reiterated Wednesday that the issue should not be the subject of congressional resolution, according to MSNBC.
"We believe that a matter between Turkey and Armenia related to history should be tackled between the two parties, not in the US Congress or the parliament of any other country," he said. "This is not a political matter and those in the Congress are not historians."
"I believe that we should focus on the future, not the past. If the Jewish community, the United States and the Congress are willing to assist, they should bring together Turkey and Armenia for the [sake of the] grandchildren of the two parties," Foxman said.
ADL's national policy-making body is expected to discuss the congressional resolutions at its annual meeting on November 1.