Peres to Turks: Our stance on Armenian issue hasn't changed
President tries to ease tensions over ADL's decision to term killing of 1.5 Armenians in WWI a 'genocide.'
Israel has not changed its position on the killing of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, President Shimon Peres assured the Turkish prime minister last week.
On Tuesday, the Anti-Defamation League announced that it considered the massacres to be genocide. It apologized for putting the Turkish people in a "difficult position" in a letter this weekend, the Turkish media reported.
In his conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Peres reiterated the Israeli position that Turkey and Armenia should resolve the dispute on the nature of the killings through dialogue. Jerusalem is careful not to refer to the killings as a genocide.
Following the ADL's statement, Turkey was feeling "disappointed with its friends," Erdogan said. President Peres told the Turkish prime minister that Israel does not control U.S. Jewish organizations, which pursue their own agendas.
Foreign Ministry sources told Haaretz that they believe that Peres' efforts and the calming actions of the Israeli embassy in Ankara have helped ease tensions over the ADL's statement.
The Turkish media reported over the weekend that ADL President Abraham Foxman sent Erdogan a letter stating the ADL has "utmost respect for the Turkish people."
"We had no intention to put the Turkish people or its leaders in a difficult position. I am writing this letter to you to express our sorrow over what we have caused for the leadership and people of Turkey in the past few days," Foxman's letter reportedly read.