Turkey rejects Trump’s characterization of 1915 incidents as ‘Meds Yeghern’
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has strongly criticized a statement issued by United States President Donald Trump on the mass killings of Armenians in 1915, calling on Washington not to distort historical facts for internal political gains.
“We reject the statement by U.S. President Trump on the 1915 incidents on April 24, 2019. Based on the subjective narrative fictionalized by the Armenians, this statement has no value at all. The distortion of history for political objectives is unacceptable,” read a statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry April 24. Turkey’s reply came hours after the White House issued Trump’s message on Armenian Remembrance Day.
“Today, we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor the memory of those who suffered in one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Beginning in 1915, one-and-a-half million Armenians were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in the final years of the Ottoman Empire,” read Trump’s statement. An Armenian term, Meds Yeghern means “the great calamity.”
“On this day of remembrance, we again join the Armenian community in America and around the world in mourning the many lives lost,” read Trump’s message, adding: “We pledge to learn from past tragedies so as to not to repeat them. We welcome the efforts of Armenians and Turks to acknowledge and reckon with their painful history. And we stand with the Armenian people in recalling the lives lost during the Meds Yeghern and reaffirm our commitment to a more peaceful world.”
Turkey’s statement recalled that more than half a million Muslims were massacred in the same period by Armenian rebel groups and called on Trump to be “fairer.”
“Turkey remains to be behind its proposal for the establishment of a joint history commission for the full investigation of the incidents of 104 years ago,” it said.
Meanwhile, the events of 1915 must be read and investigated without prejudice, Turkey's presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on April 24.
“Those who want to learn the before and the after of the 1915 events, and the common pain of us should pay attention to this call,” Kalın wrote on Twitter, referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's call on anyone with an ultimate aim of finding the truth over the tragedy.
Kalın also quoted Erdoğan as saying in his tweet: "The doors of our archives are fully open to everyone whose aim is to find the truth. We have no secrets."
Erdoğan's remarks came during a symposium on archives and historical research in the capital Ankara on April 24.