Last week Turkish President Reçep Tayip Erdogan has, on more then one occasion, uttered words which were full of hatred towards the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims.
Erdogan, who a year ago was sending words of condolence to the Armenian people, has described the deported and massacred Armenians as “Armenian militants and their supporters” adding that “the deportation of Armenians was neither genocide nor great disaster.”
Armenia did not hesitate to quickly respond to Erdogan’s words at the highest level and in a forceful manner. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan characterized the Turkish president’s statements as justifying the genocide. “Calling the whole Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, who were condemned to mass slaughter and death marches, as “Armenian militants and their supporters”, and describing the killing of 1.5 million as “the most reasonable behavior” is not only a new level of denial, but also a justification for an entire nation’s massacre”, wrote Pashinyan on his Twitter page.
The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued an official statement that the words of the Turkish leader were hurtful to the victims of the genocide and their descendants, at the same time calling on the international community to condemn Erdogan’s inhumane statements.
In 2003 Erdodan came to power under the banner of religious slogans and has been ruling Turkey since then, first as prime minister and then as president. He succeeded in staying in power mainly due to improving economic conditions and the support of the devout Muslim population in the rural areas. However, in the last few years the Turkish economy started heading downward and it is on the brinks of collapse. Simultaneously, Erdogan’s popularity is in decline. The votes of his faithful supporters is no longer sufficient to keep him in power. This has been abundantly clear during the latest elections when Erdogan’s hand-picked candidates lost the mayoral elections in the capital city of Ankara and the most important city of Istanbul.
Apparently, these major defeats have caused Ertoghan to make some political calculations. He wants to play the roll of a nationalist, and for that, he chose the issue of the Armenian Genocide as his platform.
With his latest pronouncements, justifying the deportations and mass killings of Armenians, the Turkish president put himself and his country under a heavy historical burden and responsibility.
On this occasion, we should all borrow a line from a statement issued in this regard by the co-chairman of the Armenian Caucus in Congress, Rep. Frank Pallone, who called the Turkish president’s words as “disgusting denial of historical facts.