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Turkish civil society paves way for Erdogan's Armenian opening

Some say Erdogan is trying to restore his international credibility.
Human rights activists hold pictures of Armenian victims in front of the historical Haydarpasa station in Istanbul April 24, 2010, during a demonstration to commemorate the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Muslim Turkey accepts many Christian Armenians died in partisan fighting beginning in 1915 but denies that up to 1.5 million were killed and that it amounted to genocide, a term used by some Western historians and foreign parliaments. Banner reads "Never again".  REUTERS/ Osman Orsal

On a gray Istanbul morning, Raffi Hovannisian, a prominent Armenian opposition politician stood outside the historic Haydarpasha rail station on the Asian shore of Istanbul and began to speak. “It was more than a million and a half lives, it was more than genocide — it was a loss of 3,000 years of schools and churches, an entire civilization and a way of life.”

Hovannisian was speaking on the 99th anniversary of the mass slaughter of more than a million Ottoman Armenians, which most respected scholars (and a growing number of Turks, myself included) say constituted the first genocide of the 20th century. His grandmother was among those who survived, thanks to the “brave Turkish and Kurdish families who saved Armenians' lives.”

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