Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released separate statements on Friday directed at “selective and partisan” comments and actions by officials of the US, French, Russian and German governments regarding the Events of 1915, a dispute that remains unresolved between Turkey and Armenia.
The ministry said a statement made by US President Barack Obama regarding the events was “far from a fair consideration of a painful period in the common history of Turks and Armenians,”and that a “biased view towards the incident which carries an emotional for the people of both countries is problematic.”
The “Armenian Genocide” is claimed as having been committed by the Ottoman Empire during the World War I when the Armenian population of eastern Anatolia was forced to migrate. However, Turkey categorically rejects the term genocide as an accurate description of the events and argues 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 troops.
German President Joachim Gauck said the alleged death of 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians was a “genocide” this week on April 24, the date of the centennial commemorations for the disputed genocide.
“Turkish people will not forget nor forgive the comments of the German President,” the ministry said, stating that the German President “Does not have right to attribute such a crime - which was not committed - to the Turkish people. It is expected from those serving in such posts to have an inclusive attitude and consider the sensitivities of all individuals of society.”
Regarding the attendance of French President Francois Hollande at the commemoration event for the “genocide” in Armenia, the ministry of foreign affairs also said it condemns what it views as a biased action by France.
“It would have been expected from France to understand that all ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire suffered during its collapse. A stance avoiding discriminating between the pain shared by groups of different religious backgrounds would have been appreciated and would have been seen as a positive step from Turkish minority in France,” the statement said.
In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks that condemns the “genocide” the ministry said it does not acknowledge Putin’s comments and condemns them. “Such remarks that violate legitimacy are not recognised by Turkey,” it said.
“Considering the mass massacres, exiles, collective punishments carried out by Russia for centuries in Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe as well as inhumane practices towards Turkic and Muslim minorities in its own history, Turkey believes Russia should be aware of the definition of “genocide” and the legal issues that comes with it very well,” the statement said.
The ministry also said that Turkey expects Russia to pay attention to its friendly ties with Turkey and to sensitive subjects concerning to Turkey, while adding that Russia’s insistence on committing “wrongful” actions would not contribute towards peace in the region.
Following the ministry’s statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin’s visit to Armenia would not have negative effect on Turkish-Russian relations, and that Turkey is a strategic partner of Russia with which ties will potentially develop.