Turkey slams France decision on 1915 events

France declaration of so-called memorial day will inevitably damage relations, warns Turkish Foreign Ministry

Beyza Binnur Donmez and Ali Murat Alhas   | 11.04.2019
Turkey slams France decision on 1915 events


Turkey has strongly condemned French President Emmanuel Macron's declaration of April 24 as day commemorating the 1915 events between Turkey and Armenia.

In a written statement on Thursday, Turkey's Foreign Ministry warned that France's decision will inevitably damage relations with Turkey.

"Turks and Muslims all over France and the world will not forget this disrespect towards the memory of more than 500,000 Ottoman citizens killed by Armenian insurgents," said the statement.

"While he knows these issues full well, Macron will be remembered in history as a populist leader who politicizes history to woo votes by currying favor with Armenian circles," it said. 

Macron’s statement was incompatible with the alliance between Turkey and France, it added. 

"It is a historical fact that France invaded part of Anatolia in the [1919-1923] Turkish War of Independence and encouraged Armenian insurgents to carry out inhumane massacres against the civilian population," said the statement. 

The statement stressed that Macron was pandering to terror groups responsible for the martyring of Turkish diplomats, referring to the ASALA terror group. 

From 1975 to 1984, ASALA martyred over 30 Turkish diplomats and officials in hundreds of terror attacks. The terror campaign intensified from 1980 to 1983, when 580 of the 699 attacks occurred. 

The ministry statement underlined that Turkey will always stand against such attitudes. 

Turkey's position on the historical record 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.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the 1915 events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

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

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