Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Tuesday that he hopes that 2015 will be the year when Turkey and Armenia develop a lasting friendship, instead of perpetutaing animosity.
His remarks came a day after the eighth anniversary of the death of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was assassinated in broad daylight in front of his office in Istanbul on January 19, 2007. Dink was one of the founders of the bilingual the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos.
The year 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the 1915 events that Armenia calls a "genocide" and the Battle of the Dardanelles that took place in Çanakkale's Gallipoli district, which marked a turnaround in favor of the Ottomans against the Allied Forces during World War I.
Davutoğlu said he that hopes that 2015 will be the year that sees friendship grow out of the war grief of both peoples. "We all must make an effort to build a new world for peace," he said.
About a potential Turkish-Armenian friendship, he added that Turkey was making a natural and humanitarian call as a moral duty, something that slain journalist Dink always deemed was his "reason for being" throughout his life.
He also invited Turkey's "Armenian friends" to pay more visits to Turkey and do away with respective prejudices.
Davutoğlu added that Turkey's desire to share in the pain, to heal the wounds and to establish friendship is sincere. "Our course is set towards a horizon of friendship and peace."
Relations between Turkey and Armenia have historically been poor because of incidents that took place during World War I. The Armenian diaspora and government describe the 1915 events as a "genocide" and have asked for compensation.
Turkey officially refutes this description, saying that although Armenians died during relocations, many Turks also lost their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.
Ankara has also long been calling for Armenia and its historians to research and study the archives of both countries.
In April 2014, then prime minister, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offered condolences for the Armenian deaths that occurred in 1915 - a first for a Turkish statesman.