Turkey calls joint ‘genocide’ remarks by Armenian and Greek leaders ‘pathetic’
REUTERS photoArmenian and Greek leaders’ joint portrayal of the events that took place in Anatolia during World War I as “genocide” has deeply angered Ankara, which labeled their statement as “the product of a pathetic mentality.”
Titled “Regarding the Statements of the Greek Prime Minister Mr. Alexis Tsipras, and President Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the Occasion of the Visit of the President of Armenia Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, Referring to Historical Events During the Disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and Containing Grave Allegations Against Turkey and the Turkish Identity,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s reaction came in the form of an official answer to a journalist’s question by Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç late on March 17.
“The statements in question are the product of a pathetic mentality proving that the relations and solidarity between Greece and Armenia are built upon a joint hostility and slander language directed against the Turkish identity,” Bilgiç said.
“Turkey and the Turkish people will never give credit to those bringing to the fore at every opportunity a dictum of history which is unlawful, disconnected with realities, one-sided and obsessive,” he concluded.
Greece says thousands of ethnic Greeks who had been living on the southern shores of the Black Sea for centuries were massacred in Turkey during strife that accompanied the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Turkish state.
Armenia charges that as many as 1.5 million of its kin were victims of genocide during World War I under the Ottoman Empire.
Ankara rejects the “genocide” charge, countering that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian forces.
“On the eve of the 100th anniversary of our national tragedy, Greece reiterated its pledge adopting the resolution on the fight against racism and xenophobia [Sept. 9, 2014], which also criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide sending an exemplary message to the world. In its turn, the national assembly of Armenia in 2015 unanimously adopted a declaration on the condemnation of the genocides of Greeks and Assyrians in the Ottoman Empire. This is a vivid manifestation of the fact that the spirit of solidarity continues to unite our two nations,” Sargsyan said following his meeting with Tsipras in Athens on March 15, according to a text posted on the official website of the president of Armenia.
Tsipras was meanwhile quoted in media as speaking of “Greeks’ and Armenians’ history of suffering and persecution,” on the same occasion.
Tsipras said that both peoples were “victims of genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during World War I,” according to Massis Weekly, an official publication of the Armenian Social Democratic Hunchakian Party.
They should now strive to make bilateral ties “not only a relationship with the past but also a relationship with a future,” Tsipras was also quoted as saying.