President Gul backs ErdoIan’s Armenia condolences

ANKARA (CIHAN)- Turkish President Abdullah Gul has endorsed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan’s condolences issued to grandchildren of Armenians who were killed during tumultuous events in 1915 in Anatolia during World War I.

Speaking alongside German President Joachim Gauck at a press conference in Ankara, Gul expressed his firm support for the statement released by the office of Prime Ministry on behalf of ErdoIan last week. Gul, speaking on turbulent relations between the European Union and Turkey, argued that his country has undergone tremendous reforms in the past decade as part of its firm commitment to the accession process. It is an undisputed fact, Gul said, that Turkey has made remarkable progress in its path toward membership.

The Turkish president also voiced his anxiety over death sentences handed down by an Egyptian court at a mass trial to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that such severe sentences could inflict great damage on the future of the country, undermining any prospect for a transition to democracy. He said he retains hope for a lifting of the sentences.

In response to a question, the visiting German president questioned the rationale of Turkey’s recent bans on Twitter and YouTube.

“We are in a process that a long time ago started. There are some chapters that are opened and some that are not. There is no questioning whether Turkey will become an EU member. Democracy is a state of constant and systematic dialogue [between sides],” said Gauck on the state of Turkish democracy. “We see progress in this field. Does there have to be a ban on YouTube and Twitter? We asked this question. Why does such a strong government exercise power over the judiciary and media?”

The German president went on to say: “We shouldn’t jeopardize our friendship. I regard Turkish democracy as a continuing process.”