Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not participate in Russia’s Victory Day celebrations on May 9, Turkish media reported.
The 70th anniversary of the victory against the Nazi Germany in 1945 will be celebrated on May 9 in Russia with the participation of leaders from 12 countries.
The Moscow Ambassador, Umit Yardim, will be represent Turkey during the celebrations since President Erdogan has declined attendance.
On April 27, Erdogan had condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statements over 1915 events using the word “genocide” to describe the deaths of Ottoman Armenians.
"It's not the first time Russia used the word genocide on this issue. I'm personally sad that Putin took such a step. What is happening in Ukraine and Crimea is evident. They should firstly explain these before calling it genocide," said Erdogan at a conference in Ankara.
Putin didn’t attend an event that took place in Turkey on April 24 to commemorate the casualties who died in the Gallipoli victory during the World War I, instead attended the commemorations for 1915 events in Armenia.
Turkish Foreign Ministry also condemned Putin’s comments on the 1915 events with a statement, saying that they expect Russia to pay attention to its friendly ties with Turkey.
“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.
In response to the reactions towards Putin’s statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia hopes relations with Turkey will improve despite Putin’s words and visit to Armenia.
“Turkey is a strategic partner of Russia with which ties will potentially develop,” said Peskov.
The leaders of western countries except Greece, Serbia and Greek Cyprus will not participate in the Victory Day celebrations due to Russia’s policy over Ukraine.
A parade will be launched at Red Square in Moscow with more than 14,000 soldiers, 200 military vehicles and 150 aircrafts, according to Moscow Times.