11 March 2007

1485) Turkish, Swedish Historians To Examine Alleged Mass Graves

Ankara, 9 March: The chairman of the Turkish History Society, Yusuf Halacoglu, said on Friday [9 March] that Armenian historian Ara Sarafian has sent an e-mail to him noting he would not be able to participate in joint research studies planned to take place in Elazig, an eastern city, formerly known as Harput until 1937.

"Sarafian proposed a joint research on claims regarding mass graves in Harput," Halacoglu told a press conference in Ankara today.

Stating that he was in touch with Sarafian through Internet, Halacoglu said, however, Sarafian told him in his recent e-mail that he would not take part in these studies.

"I think there is a report related to me in Agos newspaper (Turkish-Armenian bilingual weekly) this week. There is an expression in this report. It says (diaspora harshly reacted against Sarafian). I think, this report shows why Sarafian renounced," Halacoglu said.

"We are open to dialogue with everyone," said Yusuf Halacoglu. At a news conference in Ankara, Halacoglu recalled that in response to allegations that a mass grave in the southeastern town of Nusaybin belonged to the Armenians and Syriacs, he offered that the grave could be dig up together with those who made this allegation.

Stating that Prof David Gaunt from Sweden's Soedertoerns University College accepted the offer, Halacoglu noted, "We (Gaunt and he) also agreed to set up an international delegation. I sent an e-mail to Gaunt yesterday. We are in touch with him."

Halacoglu added that an examination would be conducted in regard to the alleged mass grave in Nusaybin on 23 and 25 April.

Anatolia News Agency, Turkey
March 9 2007


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