Turkey’s Prime Minister has apologised for the first time for the killings of nearly 14,000 people in a bombing and strafing campaign to crush a Kurdish rebellion in the 1930s

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday: “If there is need for an apology on behalf of the state... I would apologise and I am apologising.”

It was the first official apology from the Turkish government over the killings of 13,806 people in the southeastern town of Dersim now known as Tunceli between 1936 and 1939.

Mr. Erdogan was responding to demands from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party that Turkey must face its past. Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s family is rooted in Tunceli.

Mr. Erdogan said Mr. Kilicdaroglu must also apologise because his party was in power at the time.

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