Turkey says the Armenians died in fighting and of starvation after they sided with invading Russian troops.
Ankara: Less than ten per cent of Turks believe their government should recognise the mass killings of Armenians in the First World War as genocide, according to a survey published on Tuesday.
On the 100th anniversary of the tragedy this year, the poll revealed that only 9.1 per cent of those questioned believe Ankara should apologise for the deaths during Ottoman rule in 1915 and describe them as genocide.
Another 9.1 per cent were in favour of an apology without admitting to genocide.
Turkey rejects calls to recognise the killings as genocide, saying up to 500,000 Armenians died in fighting and of starvation after Armenians sided with invading Russian troops. It claims a comparable number of Turks were also killed.
Last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered an unprecedented expression of condolence for the massacres when he was prime minister but this did little to satisfy Armenians, who want the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million people recognised as genocide.
The survey, which was carried out between November and December by the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), was based on responses from 1,508 people.
It also found that over 23 per cent believe that not all those who perished in 1915 were Armenians and that the government should express its regret for all the Ottoman citizens — not just Armenians — who lost their lives.
Twelve per cent said the government should express its regret for the Armenians who lost their lives in 1915 but not apologise. Twenty-one per cent preferred Turkey take no action on the Armenian genocide claims, the survey found.
Turkey and Armenia in 2009 signed protocols to normalise ties, but they have still not been ratified by the national parliaments.