Turkey’s critics over Armenian issue have bloody past: Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out April 24 at those who claim that Turkey committed genocide against the Armenians.
“We already know that those, who are stirring up trouble with so-called Armenian genocide allegations, France in particular, do not have any intention of seeking the truth, and we want the entire world to know it, too,” Erdoğan said.
The president made the comments during a symposium on archives and historical research held the same day that France marked its first national commemoration of the 1915 killing of Armenians.
“We see that those who attempt to lecture us on democracy and human rights over the Armenian issue themselves have a bloody past,” Erdoğan said.
He welcomed researchers to quest for the truth in the national archives.
He accused the Armenians and their supporters of massacring the Muslim people, including women and children, in eastern Anatolia and said their relocation to the Syrian Desert was “the most reasonable action that could be taken in such a period.”
“Relocation is one thing, massacre is another thing,” he said.
The people who instigated massacres and persecuted others in past centuries now “put on the masks of advocates of human rights and freedoms,” the president said.
He said Turkey will never forget those “who sent millions of Crimean Tatars and Ahiska Turks to death by stuffing them in trains one night.”
“We hear even today and feel in our hearts the innocent people’s cries echoing in the deserts of Libya and Algeria. It was not the Muslims who were responsible for the oppressions and massacres therein,” he continued. “It is evident who murdered just 25 years ago 800,000 people in Rwanda during that genocide, and its perpetrators were French. Now, the French attempt to lecture us.”
The president said that no one has been able to prove with archival evidence that an Armenian genocide occurred.
Turkey’s version of the events of 1915 is that some Armenians in eastern Anatolia were relocated after they sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. The relocation resulted in numerous deaths.
Turkey objects to characterization of the deaths as “genocide.” The government maintains that the 1915 events were a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties. Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to discuss that period of history.
Meanwhile, Fahrettin Altun, chair of the Presidential Communication Directorate, said the events of 1915 should not be judged from unilateral ideological examinations by third countries.
In a Twitter post, he wrote: “The events of 1915 should be dealt with in light of correct and real information, without being manipulated by political interests.”