ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at a Symposium on ‘Development, Vision and Contribution to the Surveys on History of Archives’ held in Bestepe Millet Congress and Culture Center on 24 April.
Erdogan said, the Armenian issue is one of the most controversial issues in world history. “We already know that those, who are stirring up trouble with so-called Armenian genocide allegations, France in particular, do not have any intention of seeking the truth, and we want the entire world to know it, too,” Erdogan said.
“We see that those who attempt to lecture us on democracy and human rights over the Armenian issue themselves have a bloody past,” Erdogan said.
In his speech, Erdogan accused the Armenians and their supporters of massacring the Muslim people, including women and children, in eastern Anatolia and said their deportation to the Syrian Desert was “the most reasonable action that could be taken in such a period.”
“Relocation is one thing, massacre is another thing,” he said.
“The people who instigated massacres and persecuted others in past centuries now put on the masks of advocates of human rights and freedoms,” Erdogan stated.
Erdogan claimed that no one has been able to prove with archival evidence that an Armenian genocide occurred.
The countries and international bodies that recognize the Armenian Genocide include Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Poland, and the European Parliament, and some countries outlaw Armenian Genocide denial.
Turkey and its close ally Azerbaijan are the only countries that directly deny statements about historical facts related to the era.
The Ottoman Turkish government’s policy of deportations and massacres resulted in systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians leaving in the Empire between 1915-1922.
On the night of 23–24 April 1915, the Ottoman government rounded up and imprisoned an estimated 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders of the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and later those in other centers, who were moved to two holding centers near Ankara.
Following the passage of Tehcir Law on 29 May 1915, the Armenian leaders, except for the few who were able to return to Constantinople, were gradually deported and assassinated. The date 24 April is commemorated as Genocide Remembrance Day by Armenians around the world.