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Turkey, Armenia urged to reconcile

NEW YORK, April 10 (UPI) -- Armenia and Turkey have been urged in a letter from 53 Nobel laureates to make concessions and re-establish diplomatic relations.

"We thought it would be important for Nobel laureates to join their voices in support of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation," Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity official David Phillips told Radio Free Europe in an interview in New York.

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In the open letter, the laureates urged the Turkish government in Ankara to acknowledge the 1915-18 mass deportations and killing of more than 1 million Armenians constituted genocide and also urged the Armenian government in Yerevan to make changes.

"Armenia also should reverse its own authoritarian course, allow free and fair elections and respect human rights," the laureates wrote.

Phillips said the letter was prompted by anti-Armenian backlash in Turkey that followed the Jan. 19 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

"The trends in Turkey right now are negative, and I hope that after they get through this political cycle cooler heads will prevail and that Turkey's leaders will take a deep breath and reflect carefully on what's in their nationalist interests," Phillips said.

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