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Tags: Turkey | Armenia | history | genocide | Russia | Germany | US

Turkey Condemns Putin's Comments on Armenian 'Genocide'

Friday, 24 April 2015 10:35 PM EDT

Turkey on Friday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for referring to genocide during commemorations of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians during World War I.

The Turkish foreign ministry said that "we reject and condemn . . . [Putin's] characterization of 1915 events as genocide despite all our warnings and calls."

At a ceremony in Armenia, Putin referred to "mass" killings but also once used the word "genocide" — to which Turkey strongly objects — while mentioning that Moscow is party to several international legal initiatives, including a convention against genocide.

"Such political statements, which represent a clear violation of law, is considered null and void by Turkey," the ministry said.

Ankara said Russian insistence on the "mistake" would not help peace and prosperity, urging Moscow "to leave its biased attitude and instead encourage Armenia and Armenians to respond positively to Turkey's appeal for friendship and peace."

The foreign ministry also condemned French President Francois Hollande, who attended the ceremony in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

"Turkey rejects and condemns France's unfair and biased approach," it said.

Turkey says it shares the pain of Armenians over the events, but has vehemently rejected the use of the term genocide, contending that hundreds of thousands of people were killed on both sides as Ottoman forces battled the Russian empire for control of Anatolia.

In a separate statement, the Turkish foreign ministry lashed out against "unfounded accusations" directed by German President Joachim Gauck, who characterized the 1915 killings as genocide and acknowledged that Germany bore partial blame for the bloodletting.

The ministry accused Gauck of disregarding the views of the Turkish community living in Germany, who it said would "not remain silent to attempts aimed at smearing [Turkish] identity."

"Turkish people will not forget or forgive German President Gauck's statements," it added.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis drew Turkey's wrath after describing the 1915 killings as "the first genocide of the 20th century."

Turkey summoned the Vatican ambassador in Ankara over the remarks and recalled the Turkish envoy to the Holy See.

On Wednesday, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Austria in protest over Austrian lawmakers' condemnation of the mass killings as "genocide."

More than 20 nations, including France and Russia, have recognized the Armenian genocide.

President Barack Obama on Thursday described the killings as "terrible carnage" but avoided the term "genocide."

Ankara also criticized Obama's statement, which it said reflected a "unilateral point of view," and added, "We reject the discriminating and biased understanding of justice."

The foreign ministry said any country that would contribute to peace between Turks and Armenians would take its place in history as a partner in a "friendship project."





© AFP 2023

Turkey on Friday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for referring to genocide during commemorations of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians during World War I.
Turkey, Armenia, history, genocide, Russia, Germany, US, France
Friday, 24 April 2015 10:35 PM
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