YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has strongly condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest public denial of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, saying that it amounts to “extreme hate speech.”

Erdogan again lambasted France and other nations recognizing the genocide on Wednesday when he spoke at a conference in Ankara apparently timed to coincide with the annual remembrance of some 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives during the First World War.

Erdogan claimed that Armenians themselves massacred Muslim civilians and that their mass deportations to the Syrian desert was “the most reasonable action that could be taken” by the Ottoman government. “Relocation is one thing, massacre is another thing,” he said.

Pashinyan reacted angrily to Erdogan’s remarks on his Twitter page. “Calling victims of the Armenian Genocide, the Ottoman Empire’s entire Armenian population, which was sent to death marches, ‘Armenian gangs & their supporters’ … is not just a new high in denialism but justification of nation murder,” he wrote.

“Above all, doing this on April 24 is an ultimate insult to the Armenian people and to humanity,” the prime minister added, urging the international community to condemn Erdogan’s “extreme hate speech.”

Throughout his long rule, Erdogan has stuck to successive Turkish governments’ strong denial of a premeditated effort by the Ottoman regime of “the Young Turks” to exterminate the empire’s Armenian population. In April 2015, he likewise said that “the relocation of the Armenian population in Anatolia to southern lands” was a legitimate response to violence by “Armenian gangs provoked by various powers.”

The Turkish leader referred to the Syrian desert where hundreds of thousands of Armenians — mostly women, children and elderly people — were killed or starved to death. Scores of others died on their way to the Deir ez-Zor camps.

In his latest speech, Erdogan lashed out at France, which officially recognized the genocide in 2001 and held its first “national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide” on Wednesday. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe led the commemorations in Paris on Wednesday, laying flowers at a monument to the genocide victims erected in 2003.

“France intends to contribute to the recognition of the Armenian genocide as a crime against humanity, against civilization,” Philippe said, according to the AFP news agency. “It will not be impressed by any lies, by any pressure, what we are looking for is historical accuracy and reconciliation.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the latest updates from MassisPost.

You May Also Like

Pashinyan: The Priority Today Is to Ensure Stability and Security in Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh

YEREVAN — In a live video address to the nation today Armenian…

PM Pashinyan Briefs Presidents Putin and Macron on Azerbaijan’s Attack on Sovereign Territory of Armenia

YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan telephoned the presidents of Russia and…

AEBU Accepting Applications for Scholarship

PASADENA, CA – The Armenian Educational Benevolent Union (AEBU) is pleased to…

OSCE Co-Chairs Urge Access to Armenian Helicopter Wreckage

International mediators on Wednesday urged Azerbaijan to give the Armenian side access…