Yerevan/Prague - Czech President Milos Zeman said the mass killings of Armenians in the former Ottoman Empire was genocide, during a visit of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan to Prague in January, according to Armenian media.
The Armenian press pointed this out as being at variance with the stand of the Czech Republic that has not formally recognised the murdering of more than a million Armenians as genocide unlike other countries.
The Czech Presidential Office said this was Zeman´s private opinion.
Turkey, a successor to the Ottoman Empire, resolutely dismisses having committed genocide against Armenians.
"Next year 100 years will have passed since the genocide against the Armenian people in 1915, when 1.5 million Armenians died," Zeman said during Sargsyan´s visit to Prague on January 30, according to Armenian servers.
Hynek Kmonicek, head of the Czech Presidential Office foreign department, said Zeman expressed his personal opinion of events that took place a century ago.
"It was a private opinion and it was explained to Turkey," Kmonicek wrote to CTK today.
The 1915-17 genocide has been formally recognised by 23 countries, including Germany and France, that are NATO members like the Czech Republic and Turkey.
The bloody chapter of history still divides Armenia and Turkey that do not maintain diplomatic relations.
Czech senator Jaromir Stetina (TOP 09) has welcomed Zeman´s statement. He told the Armenian press agency Armenpress that he wants to submit a draft declaration on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide to the Czech Senate next year.
He said he would be glad if the Czech Senate joined the civilised parliaments that have agreed with that the Armenians were subjected to genocide.