Turkey slams French move on 1915 Armenian events

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Wednesday said Ankara could not be lectured by France which is notorious for atrocities committed during the colonial period in Africa.

Hami Aksoy's remarks came after French President Emmanuel Macron's declaration of April 24 as a national day marking the so-called Armenian genocide.

"We have no lessons to take from the arrogant French politicians who are ignorant [of basic history], which we know for the atrocities it committed in Anatolia while using the Armenians during the Independence War period, massacres in Algeria and the genocide in Rwanda," Aksoy said, responding to a question in the Foreign Ministry building.

Aksoy went on to say that Ankara repeatedly told French officials, especially Macron, that the 1915 incidents should be discussed in the light of judicial, historical and academic angles; however, Macron ignored historical facts and decisions by the European Court of Human Rights and the French Constitutional Court.

He added that the main motive of Macron was to appeal to the Armenian voters in a bid to fulfill the promise he had previously made.

Emphasizing that an objective approach was essential to understand the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in which more than 500,000 Muslims were killed by the Armenian rioters, Aksoy said that the Turkish offer to establish a joint historical commission to shed light on the incident was still applicable.

Turkey's position is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Ankara does not accept the alleged genocide, but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events of World War I.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.

Source: Anadolu Agency