ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday lashed out at the European Union and world leaders who have recognized the 1915 massacres of Armenians as genocide on the centenary of the events.
Erdogan accused the leaders of France, Germany and Russia of “supporting claims based on Armenian lies”.
Erdogan also accused the United States of siding with Armenia despite the fact that US President Barack Obama stopped short of calling the killings as “genocide” and instead used the Armenian term Medz Yeghern (great catastrophe) for the World War I killings.
“The last countries to speak of genocide are Germany, Russia and France. What happened during the two world wars that had been initiated by Germany in the past century is before our eyes,” Erdogan was quoted by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency as saying on Saturday.
“First, they (Germany, Russia and France) must, one by one, clean the stains on their own histories,” he added.
During commemoration ceremonies in Armenia on Friday, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin urged modern-day Turkey to recognise the massacre as genocide.
“We would have wished that Putin had not gone to Armenia, nor Mr Hollande” Erdogan told a meeting of businessmen in Istanbul in comments broadcast by Turkish television.
Erdogan went on to accuse the EU — whose parliament voted to call the events a genocide on April 15 — of “not telling the truth” and said: “Hey European Union! Don’t offer us any thoughts, keep them to yourself.”
“They have ears that do not hear, eyes that do not see, and tongues that do not speak the truth.”
“Have no concern, should there be a situation where the incidents of the past were accounted for today, Turkey would be the most comfortable on this aspect.”