Ankara condemns Sargsyan remarks in Turkish-Armenian war of words
Armenian leader SargsyanBoth the spokesperson of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly reacted to recent remarks by Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan in response to an invitation by Erdoğan.
“It is impossible to admit remarks by Sargsyan aiming at our president’s invitation to Armenia, which are against the diplomatic practices,” spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told Anadolu Agency on Jan. 31.
“We return the remarks by Mr. Sargsyan, which are not appropriate for a state man,” he said.
Armenia is bidding to turn the year 2015 into a campaign against Turkey and Turks, Kalın said, also blaming Sargsyan for exceeding diplomatic lines.
Erdoğan’s invitation to ceremonies marking the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli in Çanakkale in late April, which coincides with the remembrance day for the Armenian victims of the 1915 events, was “cynical and shortsighted,” Armenian President Sargsyan said Jan. 29, ArmeniaNow.com reported.
“They say any measures are suitable in politics, but I believe Ankara offered a bad service to itself in this matter,” Sargsyan said on Jan. 29, according to ArmeniaNow.com.
“Turkey will continue confronting all attempts of manipulation with a one-sided look on history due to an exploitative policy,” Kalın said.
The Foreign Ministry also said in a statement Jan. 31 that the Armenian president ignored Turkey’s “humane, logical and realistic” approach once again with the recent remarks and rejected a hand, and invitation with an “unhandsome tone.”
“We strongly condemn a tone that is not appropriate for the leader of neighboring country or a representative of the historic Armenian people,” the statement roughly translates.
Turkey does not ignore the pain that the Armenian people felt during the World War I, the statement read, saying that all nations under the Ottoman Empire in that era, especially Turks suffered.
The statement also highlighted a condolence message by Erdoğan on April 23 last year and recalled that the invitation came on Jan. 20, one day after the anniversary of the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, naming it as a “constructive understanding.”
Some radical Armenian circles had approached the issue in the past with terror, and now they were abusing the pains of the past with an outdated rhetoric, the statement read, finding it surprising that a statesman had taken a similar stance.
However, Turkey does not see this approach as a hurdle against its efforts to embrace the Armenian people and the Armenian diaspora, and would keep taking related steps, it said.
Erdoğan sent out invitations to the leaders of 102 countries, including Sargsyan and U.S. President Barack Obama, for the Gallipoli event.
Sargsyan rebuffed the invitation in letter addressed to Erdoğan, recalling an invitation extended to the Turkish president to attend ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1915 deportation and killing of Ottoman Armenians, which is considered “genocide” by Armenians.
Erdoğan said during a live interview on public broadcaster TRT Haber on Jan. 29 that accusing Turkey of committing “genocide” is a form of execution without trial. However, Ankara is “ready to pay for any misdeed” if an “impartial board of historians” concludes that it was at fault for the events of 1915, he said.
“We are not obliged to accept that the so-called Armenian genocide was ‘made-to-order,’” Erdoğan said.
He mentioned that during his period as prime minister, he had sent a letter in 2005 to former Armenian President Robert Kocharian, proposing that historians investigate the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians during the Ottoman era.